Analysis: 5G phone sales to take off in 2020

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A newly-published report from the Device Technologies (EDT) practice at consulting firm Strategy Analytics forecasts that 5G devices, from a sluggish start in 2019 will take off in 2020. The report, Global Smartphone Sales Forecast by Technology for 88 Countries to 2024, shows that within five years, 5G phones will equal nearly half of all phones sold.

“South Korea is leading the 5G race at the moment but China intends to quickly become the global 5G leader,” advises Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics. “The ability of the industry to deliver lower-cost 5G smartphones will be critical to allow China to reach this goal next year.”

“The first devices will be premium- and high-tier devices, but by the end of 2020, there will be more mid-range devices available, especially in China,” adds Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics estimates that less than 1 per cent of phones sold in 2019 will be 5G devices, but that share will grow to nearly 10 per cent in 2020. “Price is the main concern for early adopters,” suggests Hyers. “Consumers do not want to spend top dollar on a device when there are few usable networks yet. Operators must widen 5G availability significantly in order for the technology to become attractive for consumers.”

The current 5G smartphone leader is Samsung. “Samsung has managed to take the lead in 5G predominantly due to strong sales in South Korea, as well as by expanding its share in 5G markets like the US,” advises Ukonaho.

“LG, Huawei, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi are also among the first vendors to the market. But 2020 will be the turning point when 5G phone sales take off,” says Hyers. “All major smartphone vendors, including Apple, are developing 5G handsets and will many more devices will launch in 2020.” he adds. From 2020 onward, 5G smartphone sales will skyrocket, led by China, the US and other developed nations in Asia and Western Europe.

“Despite a sluggish start in 2019, 5G is well positioned to take off. Growth will be rapid once prices fall and 5G network build-outs expand next year,” predicts Ukonaho. “By 2025, 5G phone sales will exceed 1 billion.”


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