Samsung Captured 43% of Global 5G Smartphone Sales in 2019

Samsung led with healthy sell-through globally.

Huawei was second and kickstarted a wave of 5G sales in China in Q4 2019.

 New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – Feb 10th, 2020

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse service which tracks sell-through (sales), global 5G smartphone sales contributed to 1% of the global smartphone market in 2019. The sales were driven by the early adoption of 5G in South Korea, the USA, and China, where operators played a big role in the adoption by offering subsidies and promotions. We expect 2020 to be the first inflection point in terms of 5G network rollouts, coverage and device availability.

Commenting on the results, Research Director, Tom Kang said, “Samsung was the leader in the 5G smartphone segment capturing 43% of the global sales volume for the full year 2019. Samsung offered the largest 5G product portfolio, ranging from the mid-tier to premium, and sub-6GHz to mmWave models. These smartphones also were widely available across South Korea, the USA, the EU, APAC and MEA countries compared to the competition. The strong operator and channel partnerships, in-house semiconductor prowess and broad reach helped Samsung gain a first mover’s advantage in 5G smartphones. However, 2020 will be the real test for Samsung, as it will face competition from the wave of lower-cost smartphones, thanks to China’s 5G ramp-up and 5G-capable Apple iPhones in the second half.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphones Sales by OEM – 2019

Counterpoint Global 5G Smartphones Sales by OEM – 2019


Research Analyst, Parv Sharma, commenting on Huawei’s performance added, “Huawei captured the second position with 34% share of 5G smartphones sold globally, though most of the sales were in China. Huawei’s Mate 20 X was the only 5G phone with Google Mobile Services (GMS) selling outside China in 2019. 5G version of Huawei’s Mate 30 series drove the bulk of the demand across China, as users preferred upgrading to the 5G rather than the 4G version, futureproofing their purchase. We expect Huawei to be more aggressive in 2020, driving the 5G smartphone pricing down to sub-$200 price points by the end of the year. This will help Huawei capture the lion’s share of China’s 5G smartphone market and also increase its global market share thanks solely to its performance in China.”

Mr. Sharma, adds, “The competition in 5G is expected to increase as other Chinese OEMs: Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo and Realme will likely adopt Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 6 and 7 series 5G solutions as well as solutions from 5G chipsets from Samsung, MediaTek, UNISOC and, potentially, HiSilicon.”

Commenting on the 5G chipset players for smartphones, Research Analyst, Shobhit Srivastava added, “According to our smartphone application chipset tracker, in 2019 Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei each captured around one-third of 5G smartphone chipset market. In 2020, we expect Qualcomm to gain share in the 5G smartphone chipset market, accounting for around 40% of the market followed Huawei with 27% share. MediaTek 5G chipsets will be available during 2020 but its share is expected to be in single digits. Apple will be using a baseband solution from Qualcomm, meaning Qualcomm will account for around half the 5G smartphone baseband market in 2020.”

Market Summary (Other Players):

  • LG was in the number three position, capturing 10%. LG launched the V50 series in Korea, the USA, and the EU.
  • Vivo captured 5% share with sales in China following Huawei. It offered its cheapest 5G model in 2019 through its iQoo sub-brand with a 5G smartphone priced below USD 500. It was also the first OEM other than Samsung to launch a 5G smartphone with a Samsung 5G chipset.
  • Xiaomi continues the strategy of offering smartphones at competitive prices. It launched a 5G smartphone at less than USD 400. It was in the fifth position globally, capturing a 3% share.
  • Oppo offered 5G smartphones in the premium segment in China, EU, and MEA. It captured a 2% share.
  • In 2020, we expect Qualcomm to dominate the 5G chipset market by capturing around 40% of the market followed Huawei with 27%.
  • Qualcomm is expected to capture around a half of the 5G smartphone baseband market in 2020.

Key smartphone players plan to introduce the maximum number of 5G flagships to speed up the 4G to 5G transitions in 2020. And, they are also continuously focusing on reducing the ASP of 5G devices to make them affordable to the mass market.

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Analyst Contacts:
Parv Sharma


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