According to figures published by Counterpoint, sales of 5G smartphones continue to increase worldwide. For the first time, manufacturers sold more 5G-capable phones than 4G-capable phones. In January 2022, 51% of devices sold worldwide were indeed 5G compatible, notes Counterpoint.
The rise of 5G smartphones is especially visible in China. During the first month of the year, 84% of phones sold on the Chinese market were 5G compatible. “Pressure for 5G from Chinese telecom operators, combined with manufacturers’ desire to provide consumers with 5G smartphones at competitive prices, has enabled this growth” Counterpoint’s report explains.
The increase in sales of 5G phones is notably due to the success of the iPhone. For the record, Apple launched the first compatible iPhones at the end of 2020. These were the iPhone 12s. The range has met with colossal success around the world despite the shortage of chips.
The standard iPhone 12 has also established itself as the most purchased smartphone on the global market in 2021. More affordable, the iPhone 12 placed just ahead of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro. At the end of 2021, Apple marketed a new range of 5G devices, the iPhone 13, which helped to further boost sales of compatible terminals“. There is immense and continued demand for an upgrade to 5G among iOS users,” Counterpoint points out. The release of the iPhone SE 5G should help Apple meet the strong demand.
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The rise of 5G devices is also due to the appearance of compatible Android smartphones at bargain prices. Thanks to the mid-range and entry-level chips offered by Qualcomm and Mediatek, many brands have been able to lower the prices of 5G phones.
In this area, Samsung has established itself among the market leaders thanks to the success of the Galaxy A range. The Galaxy A12, an affordable 5G-enabled smartphone, was the best-selling Android phone in the world last year. Last year, more than 50% of Samsung smartphones sold last year were Galaxy A.
Thanks to the affordable chips offered by MediaTek and Qualcomm, Android 5G smartphones entered the mid-to-high ($250-$400) price segment and are now trickling down to the $150-$250 price range, contributing one-fifth of the 5G sales in January.
Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America are the next focus areas for OEMs to increase 5G penetration. 5G models in the sub-$150 price segment are the sweet spot for these regions, which are currently dominated by 4G.
The low-end 5G SoC is priced more than $20 at present. Once it comes down to sub-$20, we will start seeing 5G smartphones in the budget segment, according to Counterpoint’s Component Tracker Service.