- Samsung dominates the growing market for 5G smartphones in the U.S., selling three of the most popular models of next-generation mobile devices. Shipments of 5G phones surged to 3.4 million units in Q1 from zero a year earlier, and now make up 12% of the U.S. smartphone market, researcher Strategy Analytics found.
- Samsung's lineup includes the top-selling Galaxy S20+ 5G model with a 40% market share, followed by the higher-priced Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G with 30% share and the Galaxy S20 5G discount model at 24% share. The remaining 7% of the 5G smartphone market is divided among other brands including Motorola, LG, OnePlus and TCL.
- The top-selling Galaxy S20+ 5G smartphone, which is priced at $1,199 before discounts, is popular with affluent professionals in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, per Strategy Analytics.
Samsung has first-mover advantage in 5G smartphones, introducing a lineup of models at several price points to capture as much as market share as possible before rivals like Apple introduce their models of higher-speed devices. 5G service is still spotty in the U.S., with major carriers like AT&T, Verizon and the newly merged T-Mobile and Sprint gradually expanding service to more cities and regions. The build-out is expected to take several more years and eventually will let mobile marketers engage consumers with richer multimedia experiences that include video, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content.
Samsung's early lead in 5G phones doesn't necessarily mean that rivals like Apple won't capture a significant share of the market for 5G phones. Apple had a strong Q4 as the top seller of smartphones worldwide, per a separate report by Strategy Analytics, after introducing a wider range of iPhones at lower prices to appeal to consumers in emerging markets with less spending power than those in developed countries. Apple's 5G strategy is somewhat unclear, but the company is likely to introduce 5G-equipped phones at different price points to take on Samsung and other brands among all segments of the smartphone space.
5G smartphones are expected to become much more popular in the next few years as prices decline and higher-speed service becomes more widely available, according to a forecast by technology consulting firm Gartner. The firm predicted the market share of 5G smartphones will jump to 43% in 2022 from 12% this year, and will make up more than half of all smartphone sales by 2023.
Gartner's forecast suggests that 5G will reach a tipping point by 2023, when most smartphones will be equipped with the technology, helping to drive consumption of bandwidth-intensive content for mobile marketers. The higher bandwidth and lower latency of 5G promises to unlock richer, more immersive experiences for consumers and marketers.