Samsung Electronics’ 5G smartphones accounted for three-quarters of worldwide shipments in the third quarter, more than double the units it shipped in the second quarter, according to new research from IHS Markit.
IHS research indicates that Samsung shipped 3.2 million 5G smartphones in the third quarter, about 74% of the 4.3 million unit global 5G market. In the second quarter, Samsung shipped 1.5 million 5G smartphones. IHS Markit forecasts 5G smartphone demand to explode in 2020 reaching 253 million units up from 13.5 million units shipped in 2019.
“Samsung has come out of the gate running in the initial stage of the 5G smartphone business,” said Gerrit Schneemann, senior analyst of smartphones at IHS Markit. “The company successfully capitalized on its home-field advantage in the fast-developing South Korean market to rapidly ramp up shipments. Samsung also has moved quickly to fill out its 5G smartphone line, giving it the largest portfolio of any brand.”
Schneemann is referring to South Korea’s deployment of 5G networks across the country, which is the most intensive of any country in the next generation wireless communications' infancy. Samsung and second place smartphone maker, LG, have been aggressive with promotions of 5G smartphones, allowing the companies to take market-share positions.
IHS Markit said the overall growth in 5G shipments was due to the South Korean market alone.
Samsung has five 5G models on the market including the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G and the Galaxy 5G S10, which is the smartphone that has been deployed the most in countries that have deployed 5G networks.
“Samsung is integrating 5G connectivity in a broad range of devices, from the Galaxy A90 to the Galaxy Fold 5G,” said Jusy Hong, smartphone research and analysis director at IHS Markit. “The Galaxy Fold’s combination of new display technology and 5G connectivity shines a light on the potential of multiple technologies to transform the mobile user experience.”
Outside of Samsung and LG, shipments from Chinese OEMs Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, vivo, Oppo and ZTE represented 17% of the total 5G shipments in the second and third quarters.
While Chinese-made 5G models were mostly shipped overseas, this will change rapidly as China recently started 5G deployments and is set to become the 5G device leader in 2020 when it will dominate shipments. However, this will likely still include models shipped from other countries and many of the domestic manufacturers will target the low- to mid-range market.
One factor that will limit the market for 5G smartphones is the price. In the second quarter, the average selling price (ASP) was $1,153 for a 5G smartphone. As more phones become available and the market continues to deploy more base stations and small cells, pricing ranges should become more diverse, IHS Market said.