The 5G smartphone market was 51% worldwide in January 2022. This was more than the number of smartphones with 4G capabilities at the time for the very first time in accordance with Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker. China, North America and Western Europe were the major drivers of this increase. China was the country with the highest percentage of 5G users worldwide, with 84 percent in January. The demand for 5G by Chinese telecom companies, coupled with the ability of OEMs to provide low-cost smartphones with 5G capabilities to consumers, facilitated this growth.
In the 5G market, smartphone usage rate for North America and Western Europe was 73 percent and 76%, respectively. Apple is the dominant smartphone in North America and Western Europe with a market share of more than 50 30 percent and 30 percent and 30%, respectively. Following the time that Apple changed to 5G in October of 2020 through iPhone 12 Series, iPhone 12 Series, North America and Western Europe saw a natural growth in the market share of smartphones that support 5G. These regions are likely to remain a major contributor to global sales of 5G devices even if they do not offer the same specs as competitors and features, there is a massive and continuing need for a 5G upgrade in the iOS customer base. This demand is also driven through iPhone owners who feel eager to buy new phones after years of clinging to older iPhones. The holding times for many are approaching four years, which is the standard replacement period for iPhones.
With the inexpensive chips provided through MediaTek in conjunction with Qualcomm, Android 5G smartphones have entered the middle-to-high ($250-$400) price range and are currently dropping to the $150-$250 price bracket making up one-fifth of 5G smartphone sales in January.
Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America are the next priority areas for OEMs to boost 5G coverage. 5G devices in the sub-$150 price bracket are the best region for these regions, that are currently dominated by 4G.
The lower-end 5G SoC is priced higher than $20 currently. If it is priced under $20, we’ll begin to see 5G smartphones being sold that are priced at a lower price as per Counterpoint’s Component Tracker Service.