Boston, Toronto, Denver, London, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – April 30, 2021
The US smartphone market saw a 19% year-over-year (YoY) growth in its Q1 2021 sales helped by the 5G sales from Apple, Samsung and OnePlus, according to Counterpoint’s latest data from the US Channel Share Tracker. The market had sold over 53 million 5G devices at the end of Q1 2021 since the launch of 5G in 2019. In Q1 2021, 5G sales made up 57% of all smartphone sales as more 5G capable devices have come down price tiers. Stimulus checks, a strong vaccination effort, and fewer pandemic restrictions have helped inject renewed confidence in the US economy.
Quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), the US market experienced the usual contraction coming off of a strong holiday period and iPhone 12 launch. More lower-priced LTE smartphones were sold in Q1 as the market shifted towards prepaid sales, temporarily halting 5G sales momentum.
Senior Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne said, “The beginning of 2021 saw continued sales for the iPhone 12 as demand spilled over from its late launch in Q4 2020. This has since tapered off. Samsung also refreshed its S series lineup with the S21 in February. In March, we began seeing the prepaid market grow as the third round of stimulus money and a delayed tax season started having their effect. The 5G smartphone market stalled as more prepaid customers were purchasing LTE devices which were heavily discounted due to tax season sales. 5G smartphones were also discounted, but they have not moved down to more affordable price tiers yet, causing limited adoption. OnePlus was the exception to this trend in prepaid. The OEM grew its share in Metro to double digits through both the N100 and N10 5G.”
US Mobile Devices and Carrier Strategies Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “Overall 5G ASPs (average selling prices) climbed above $800 in Q1 2021 again due to the prolonged demand for premium devices in early 2021. However, Samsung introduced the mid-tier A32 5G and A42 5G in April which we expect will help further drive down overall 5G ASPs. We believe 5G prices will drop below $250 in H2 2021. Qualcomm’s 400 series Snapdragon processor and MediaTek’s 700 and 800 Dimensity series chips will help achieve these price drops. LG’s exit from the market is creating a major opportunity for other OEMs such as Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus and TCL, and carriers are expecting more devices to come with 5G connectivity in lower price tiers. Overall, by the end of Q4 2021, we estimate that 5G smartphone sales will reach 80% of total sales.”
Commenting on the US market outlook, Senior Research Analyst Hanish Bhatia said, “The US economy is looking very promising. Over 23% of the total population is fully vaccinated and states are loosening restrictions on businesses. Apple also had another record-breaking quarter, with North America revenues growing 35% YoY. All these factors point towards renewed strength in the smartphone market demand and 5G adoption. However, we are also watching for component shortages and how this might affect the market going forward. Inventory has been very tight, but supply has been able to meet demand so far. Bigger OEMs such as Apple and Samsung seem to be less affected, but smaller Tier 2 and Tier 3 OEMs may feel the impact to a greater extent going forward. Apple has given guidance that component shortages will affect its Mac and iPad lineups as supply will not be able to meet demand.”
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
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