The global smartphone OS landscape is dominated by Android and iOS, with a small presence of HarmonyOS. Android is the clear leader with a market share of 81% in Q3 2023. iOS has a market share of 16%. Showing promising growth, Huawei’s HarmonyOS has captured a 3% share.
Android is popular among smartphone brands due to its deep-rooted experience in software and its open-platform nature. This helps brands produce custom operating systems to meet the specific requirements and preferences of their target consumers. Android does not face any strong competition in the ecosystem outside of iOS.
iOS is strong in developed markets and has begun to gain momentum in emerging markets. Consumers in emerging markets are becoming more mature and willing to spend more to buy phones like iPhones, which have strong brand value.
HarmonyOS almost doubled its smartphone sales volume in Q3 2023 compared to Q3 2022. HarmonyOS is steadily increasing its market share due to the loyal user base of Huawei phones in China. Almost all of its sales are in China. HarmonyOS’ further success is uncertain as its acceptance by non-China consumers and other brands is challenging due to the lack of Google Mobile Services (GMS).
About 85% of South Korean smartphone users aged less than 30 had an Android phone as their first smartphone, but 53% of them now use iPhones.
The biggest reason for these Android phone users to switch to iPhones was expectations related to performance, particularly the camera.
On the other hand, 92% of users in the same age group who used an iPhone as their first smartphone are currently using an iPhone.
About 85% of South Korean smartphone users aged less than 30 used Android phones such as Samsung and LG as their first smartphones, according to a consumer survey conducted by Counterpoint Research among 1,000 users in the first half of 2023. However, about 53% of them said that they were currently using an iPhone, suggesting that many Android phone users had switched to iPhones during replacement.
The reason why Android phones account for a very high proportion of first-time smartphone purchases in South Korea is that most users in that age group, particularly adolescence, give priority to the preference of those with real purchasing power, such as parents, when buying their first smartphone. During the survey, the largest number of respondents opted for “Recommendation from family or friends” when asked why they used an Android as their first smartphone.
Smartphone OS Switching Pattern in South Korea
As for the reason for switching from an Android phone to an iPhone, respondents cited “Performance” (32%) and “Brand image” (31%) as the first and second priorities. In particular, in terms of performance, satisfaction and expectation with the camera had the greatest impact on the purchase decision. Apple operates a number of R&D centers specializing in imaging technology and is evaluated to have maximized the camera performance of its devices by achieving good harmony between hardware and software. Besides, Apple recently launched a campaign called ‘Shot on iPhone’ in the South Korean market. The campaign emphasizes the iPhone’s camera performance through collaboration with a music video by Korean girl group NewJeans and a short film by director Park Chan-wook.
According to the survey, in the <30 age group user base, Apple seems to have succeeded in solidifying the loyalty of existing iPhone users as well as switchers from Android phones. 92% of users who owned an iPhone as their first-ever smartphone said they were still using the brand. Furthermore, about 76% of them said they were not willing to use Android phones in the future. The respondents cited dissatisfaction with Android phones’ “Design” (52%) and “Performance” (29%) as reasons.
When considering all age groups, more than half of the respondents who said they switched from iPhone to Android cited easy-to-use features such as Samsung Pay and UI as the differentiating factors. These answers were similar to those of current iPhone users, who said they were willing to replace their devices with Android smartphones in the future. Therefore, to attract new users and secure loyal customers, marketing strategies that focus on user convenience are expected to be effective for Android smartphone brands.
The JioPhone Next is one of the cheapest 4G smartphones available in the market.
The device will help Jio shift hundreds of millions of 2G and 3G users to 4G.
The device will also make it easier to shift 4G users to 5G once the coverage has reached a good threshold.
Reliance Jio, in partnership with Google, launched the JioPhone Next 4G Android smartphone on November 4 last year. With an aim to shift hundreds of millions of 2G and 3G users to 4G, the telecom operator has worked hard with suppliers to maintain a very disruptive bill of materials (BoM) at around $58. The smartphone is being manufactured at Reliance Jio’s Neolync facilities in Tirupati and Sriperumbudur in southern India. While Qualcomm, Samsung and AI start-up Syntiant have benefitted from the first generation of JioPhone’s 4G Android smartphone offering, Chinese suppliers have also won some important design slots in the multi-million seller. This can be seen in the following BoM and specification analysis:
The JioPhone Next features a 5.45-inch LCD display with 720×1440 pixels resolution and 60Hz refresh rate. The LCD is illuminated by backlight and is relatively inexpensive, making it an ideal solution for budget smartphones. The display is manufactured by upstart Chinese supplier TXD. For the cover glass, Jio has opted for Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which has alkali-aluminosilicate that offers some resistance to scratches and protection from accidental drops. The display, along with the cover glass, takes ~21% share of the BoM cost.
Storage and memory
When it comes to low-end budget smartphones’ memory, most brands opt to use an eMMC (embedded multimedia card) storage. However, Jio has opted to go for an eMCP (embedded multi-chip package) solution due to space and power constraints on the PCB. An eMCP offers a smaller footprint compared to an eMMC. Sitting between eMMC and UFS (universal file storage) solutions, an eMCP storage combines NAND and DRAM to minimize latency and cut down on power consumption. 2GB of single-channel LPDDR3 SDRAM running at 672 MHz and 32GB of eMMC 5.1 flash is manufactured by Samsung and accounts for ~22% of the BoM cost.
The JioPhone Next is powered by Qualcomm’s QM215 SoC produced on a 28nm process node. The QM215 is a toned-down variant of the Snapdragon 425. This chipset is specifically designed to work on ultra-low-cost Android Go phones. The QM215 packs four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz, which aim to increase the CPU performance by 50% compared to the earlier Qualcomm 2-series platform. The QM215 also packs in a third-generation Adreno 308 GPU clocked at 500 MHz, which has 24 ALUs (arithmetic logical units) that can perform 27 Giga-floating-point operations per second [GFLOPs FP32 – (single precision)].
Neural Processing Unit (NPU)
The smartphone also packs in a special speech recognition NPU from Syntiant. This NPU – NDP101 – is manufactured on a 40nm ULP (ultra-low power) process node featuring a single Core Arm Cortex-M0 CPU coupled with 112KB of SRAM that is capable of running deep learning algorithms efficiently for all the offloads from CPU and in ultra-low power consumption use cases as well.
The NPU supports an always-on listening feature, and wake-up-to-speech and voice commands, a key differentiator for the phone to bridge the “digital divide” by supporting multiple local languages not only for wake word but also translation. Reliance Jio’s partnership with Google has also brought along Pragati OS, an optimized solution of Android GO.
The processing section together contributes ~11% to the BoM cost.
The smartphone offers a single 13MP camera, with a 1/3″ sensor from SK Hynix, on the rear flanked by an LED flash. On the front, there is an 8MP camera with a 1/4″ sensor. Both camera modules contribute to ~9% of the BoM cost.
Sensors and connectivity
The JioPhone Next’s nominal sensor array includes accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors. Wireless connectivity choices include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and AGPS (indoor positioning). The single-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo IC is powered by Qualcomm’s WCN3610.
In terms of connectivity, the Qualcomm 215 sports a Snapdragon X5 LTE Cat 4 modem with support for VoLTE, VoWiFi, EVS and Dual SIM Dial VoLTE, which are a key feature for emerging markets such as India. It is the first 2-series platform to support 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. The SoC also supports dual camera ISPs. Sensors and connectivity together contributed around ~11% to the BoM cost.
The Jio smartphone packs a lithium polymer 3400mAh battery with a 13.09Wh rating. It is manufactured by Guangdong Fenghua NEW Energy. The battery is charged via a micro-USB port. The device features Qualcomm’s Quick Charging IC. The battery along with the power management ICs accounts for ~9% of the BoM cost.
The JioPhone Next is a unique smartphone for its price segment, retailing at around $55-$80 (INR 4,400-INR 6,400) depending on the seasonal/regional/buyback offers, supported by a compact design. This makes it a compelling device for budget-oriented and feature phone users to cross the chasm.
Leveraging its scale, Jio has designed an optimum BoM for this smartphone despite supply chain constraints and increasing component prices. Jio has closely worked with Google to optimize the entire experience for the chosen hardware stack.
The device rounds up Jio’s strategy well — first, to use the JioPhone Next 4G to attract hundreds of millions of 2G feature phone users to its 4G network and second, to aim to deliver a sub-$100 to sub-$150 (INR 8,000-INR 12,000) affordable 5G smartphone once the coverage has reached a good threshold to attract the mass-market 4G smartphone users to its 5G network. This two-pronged strategy will be the key to Jio’s growth and extend its leadership to the 5G era as well. Further, at some point in 2024, Jio will also be compelled to launch an affordable 5G mmWave + Sub-6 GHz smartphone as the cost deltas between the two would have narrowed significantly from the BoM perspective.
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC.
The smartphone comes with a 108MP main camera and a 5,000mAh battery.
It flaunts a sAMOLED+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Samsung revamped its affordable and mid-range smartphone portfolio by launching the Galaxy A-series and M-series in 2019 as an answer to rising competition from Chinese smartphone brands. The M-series smartphones are available via online-only channels in India. Battery capacity as a differentiator with “Monster” as a tagline, and multi-band 5G support on the latest smartphones, the M-series has been quite popular among consumers. Since its launch in 2019, Samsung has shipped over 40 million Galaxy M-series smartphones, according to our Monthly Model Shipment Tracker.
The recently launched Samsung Galaxy M53 5G brings some key improvements over its predecessor, the Galaxy M52 5G. It is the first smartphone in the segment to come with a 108MP primary camera sensor. The smartphone also supports 12 5G bands, and Auto Data switching among other features. Offered in two variants, both offering base storage of 128GB, the 6GB RAM variant is priced at around $330, whereas the 8GB RAM variant is priced at around $360.
Unlike competitors in this segment, Samsung is not offering crazy fast charging speeds or even bundling a fast charger in the box. So, does multi-band 5G support and a 108MP main camera, among other features make the Samsung Galaxy M53 5G a good challenger?
Below is our detailed analysis after using the smartphone for over two months.
Design and Finish: Lightweight and Sturdy
The Galaxy M53 5G comes with a very basic design, featuring a polycarbonate shell and plastic back. The back has a gradient finish, and it shines as light falls on it from different angles. Though, it would have been better if Samsung had focused on offering an even more attractive CMF to stand out from the competition. One good thing about the Galaxy M53 5G is that Samsung has offered a matte finish at the back, which prevents fingerprint smudges and makes the device less slippery in hand.
The Galaxy M53 5G weighs only 176 grams, which is good considering its 5,000mAh battery. Competitors having similar battery capacity weigh above 190 grams. Even Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge 5G with a 4,500mAh battery and polycarbonate shell weighs more than 200 grams.
Construction-wise, the device is solid and feels good in the hand. The volume rocker and power button (which also integrates a fingerprint sensor) are on the right. If you are right-handed the power button is easily accessible and within the thumb’s reach. But volume buttons are a little bit of a struggle to reach. Also, if you are left-handed, you’ll need to register one of your fingers to unlock the smartphone or rely on the face unlock feature, which is also quite fast in unlocking.
Display: Multimedia Entertainer
The smartphone comes with a 6.7-inch display featuring full HD+ resolution. It is a Super AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate which does a good job of producing vivid colors, deep blacks, and bright whites. The 120Hz refresh rate option is set by default and there is an option to switch to 60Hz for battery-saving purposes. However, there is no option for an adaptive refresh rate, which is something that Samsung can focus on providing in the M53 successor.
Streaming TV shows on OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offers a good viewing experience. I watched popular shows like Stranger Things, and I was happy with the picture quality. While the display quality is good for content consumption, readability under bright sunlight could have been better with slightly higher nits for brightness levels. Features like the Eye comfort Shield to limit blue light and use warm colors are a good addition. It causes less strain to the eyes, especially now when we consume more content.
One UI with Android 12: Smooth and Functional
Software and security updates are key areas where Samsung is trying to differentiate itself from the competition. Samsung is promising two years of major Android software updates and four years of security updates, which is a good thing considering the long-term usability of the device. It also puts Samsung ahead of the competition in its price range.
The Galaxy M53 5G ships with Android 12 and Samsung’s One UI 4.1 out of the box. It comes preloaded with some bloatware apps such as PhonePe, BYJU’s, Swiggy, and DailyHunt among others showcasing Samsung’s content and commerce partnerships to make them available to the masses and in the process earn some revenues. The good part is that these apps can be uninstalled if you want.
In terms of usage, Samsung seems to have worked hard in optimizing the software and hardware which is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G SoC. Scrolling through the interface, social media apps, and even multitasking is a smooth experience without any noticeable lag. Samsung has also included features like a pop-up view where the app can run in a floating window above the interface. You can even minimize this pop-up window based on your needs. It is a handy feature for certain use cases and very helpful for power users who want to multitask.
Samsung has also included the RAM Plus feature where you can allocate between 2GB to 6GB of internal storage space as virtual RAM to ensure you get smoother performance even when running multiple apps.
Besides, users also get to experience the continuity experience between Android smartphones and Windows 10 PC, thanks to Microsoft integration. With Link to Windows, users can access their text messages, and answer phone calls right on the PC without having to pick up the phone. With supported apps such as Samsung Notes and Samsung Internet, you can pick up where you left from one Samsung device to the other. Photo in the Gallery app and be synced with OneDrive, and Samsung Notes can be synced across Microsoft OneNote. Premium features like these from the flagship Galaxy S and Fold series on M and A series differentiate it from the competition.
Calls and connectivity
The audio on both voice calls and even in-app calls like WhatsApp are satisfactory in terms of quality and loudness. The Voice Focus feature helps deliver decent quality audio in a noisy ambient environment. Support for 12 5G bands makes it ready for future 5G connectivity. There is a feature called Auto Data Switching that automatically switches between SIM cards if one of them is not available to make data transfers and calls, a very small feature but helps in seamless connectivity.
Camera: Not all 108MP Camera Sensors are Equal
The Galaxy M53 5G comes with a quad camera setup boasting a 108MP primary camera. With this smartphone, Samsung is bringing the premium photography experience to the masses at lower price points. However, this 108MP (ISOCELL HM6) isn’t the same sensor as on the premium Galaxy S22 Ultra (ISOCELL HM3). There are key differences are in the sensor and pixel size. The premium HM3 has a pixel size of 0.8μm vs 0.64μm on the HM6 sensor. Similarly, the sensor size of HM3 is 1/1.33″ compared to 1/1.67″ on the HM6. With a big sensor and bigger pixel size, the premium HM3 performs better. Here, a lot also depends on the chipset and ISP processing capabilities, and the AI algorithms as well.
Talking about quality, daylight photos look good enough producing natural colors with good dynamic range. As you can see in the below image, the clouds, blue sky, mud, and the building color is all captured well. The photos also have enough details when you zoom in.
We compared 108MP photos taken on the Galaxy M53 and S22 Ultra. Below, we are sharing the full res photo (which takes about 38MP disk space) and a quick comparison.
As you can see in the above photos at max zoom, the text on the photo taken with Galaxy M53 is a little sharper, but in terms of overall details and structure like the bricks, the excavator, and the mud, the S22 Ultra does a better job. Though, what the Galaxy M53’s 108MP sensor achieves is commendable at this price point.
The main camera works well in the night mode too. As you can see in the below image, the camera has captured different elements of the picture very nicely. You can see the shadow on the grass, neon lights, details, and the structure of the fountain structure. The lens flare on the street light is visible too, but that is fine considering the device’s price point.
There is also an 8MP ultrawide camera, and two 2MP cameras – one for macro, and one for depth sensing. Ultrawide camera also captures good photos with very little distortion around the edges. However, if you observe the below photos closely, purple fringing is noticeable between the branches and the sky.
Macros are decent but could have been sharper and more detailed if the camera resolution was a little higher at 5MP instead of 2MP. Lastly, the edge detection of the depth-sensing camera is also decent. Portrait mode photos have a good separation of background and foreground.
Lastly, the 32MP front camera does its job well in offering detailed selfies with good skin tone and color balance. Under well-lit conditions, portrait selfies are good too, but AI processing in ambient and low-light conditions can be improved with software updates.
Dependable Battery Life
The 5,000mAh battery on the Galaxy M53 5G easily lasts a typical workday. With usage mostly on Wi-Fi, some phone calls, browsing through social media apps, and light gaming, the battery is still around 30% around the end of the day.
While Samsung does support up to 25W fast charging, it does not bundle a charging adapter in the box. Consumers have to buy the charger separately which costs about $15. This is where competitors have an advantage both in terms of bundling the charger in the box and also offering fast charging speeds up to 60W and even more in some cases.
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G delivers what it promises. It offers decent photography and a good multimedia experience along with reliable battery life. The guaranteed Android OS and security update promise give Samsung an edge over the competition. Also, Microsoft’s app integration within One UI and other features like pop-up view and auto-data switching add-on the overall user experience. Slightly faster-charging speeds, the inclusion of a charging adapter in the box, and a better overall camera experience would have been an added benefit. These are the things Samsung can focus on in the M53 5G’s successor.
ALSO READ: Other Strategic Reviews on Smartphones, Smartwatches, TWS & More
With numerous supply chain issues and disruptions affecting worldwide tablet shipments since Q1 2021, tablet market shares have shifted. Android tablets sales still lead the market, but the gap with Apple’s iOS is closing. Due to the tablet market reaching saturation, and newer volume-driving regions facing inflationary pressures and macro uncertainty, tablet shipments by OS are reflecting this change. According to Counterpoint Research’s Tablet Market Tracker, global tablet shipments have shown some alleviation by recording shipment growths in 2021, however in Q1 2022 contracted by 9% QoQ.
Figure 1) Global Tablet Shipments by Operating System
Figure 2) Global Tablet Market Share by Operating System
Despite the launch of new tablet devices and Samsung’s growth in the quarter, Android OS tablets as a whole have declined significantly reaching their lowest shipments in almost two years. With a YoY and QoQ decrease of 11% and 14% respectively, Android OS accounts for approximately 90% of tablet shipment losses in Q1 2022. Android serves as the base OS for a diverse set of brands including Lenovo, Asus, Acer, and Dell, which all saw notable decreases in the quarter. This decline can be attributed to several factors, one being increasing inflationary pressures and economic slowdowns which have negatively affected low to mid-tier tablet segments. Consumer demand for Android tablets has waned. Additionally, because Android tablets do not possess distinguishable qualities other than proprietary UI overlays, loyalty to a specific brand remains relatively low with brand switching commonplace.
iOS on the other hand, maintained its growth trajectory in the quarter, with its market share growing by an additional 4% points. With iOS’s unmatched synergy in the iOS device ecosystems, high consumer loyalty, and optimization for many use cases, iOS tablets remain resilient to demand swings prevalent in the market. The release of the iPad Air 5 also helped iOS market share remain stable throughout Q1’s weak seasonality and rally iOS demand.
Windows, the third most popular tablet OS followed a similar trend to Android with a shipment reduction of 11% QoQ. Despite its drop, Windows OS remains consistent with its previous market share of 6% increasing by 1% point YoY, focusing on targeting distinct work and business applications without overlapping with that of Android and iOS users.
Because the tablet market is currently experiencing a multitude of complications ranging from component shortages, supply chain disruptions, and slowing demand, changes will likely occur at a slower pace. Android currently holds the majority of tablet shipments, however, if current market conditions persist, the gap between Android and iOS will likely narrow further.
London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – June 22, 2022
Apple led the global best-selling smartphone list with five models, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi with four and one smartphone respectively, according to Counterpoint’s Global Monthly Handset Sales Tracker for April 2022. The top 10 models captured 21% of the total smartphone market.
The Apple models in the top 10 accounted for 89% of its total sales for the month. Owing to its slim portfolio, Apple has always had multiple models in the best-sellers list. With a broader and more diverse portfolio, Samsung’s top models made up just 22% of its total sales.
The month’s best-sellers list saw an increase in the number of 5G-enabled smartphones, rising to a new high of seven models and up from four in the same month last year. The 5G smartphones on the list represent a third of the total 5G smartphone sales. 5G capability has become a standard offering in flagships and its presence is increasing in lower price bands as well.
Apple continues to do well with three of its latest iPhone 13 models capturing the top three spots. Unlike its last generation, the non-Pro iPhone 13 model has maintained a lead every month since launch and has done better than the Pro variants in terms of sales in most large markets.
The recently launched iPhone SE 2022 saw triple-digit MoM growth, entering the top 10 list. The model has done particularly well in Japan where it topped the sales chart for April and captured 18% of the nation’s smartphone market share. It is doing less well in the USA, however.
iPhone 12 captured the 4th spot with increased sales in Japan and India. It is the sole model in the list which was present in the best-sellers list in April 2021.
Samsung captured four spots in the list, and its latest flagship, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, took the fifth spot overall. The successor to the Galaxy Note series after a gap of two years has become the go-to device for existing Galaxy Note smartphone users.
Galaxy A-series devices, positioned at different price points and targeting different customers, helped Samsung capture another three spots. The newly launched Galaxy A13 looks to be replicating the success that the Galaxy A12 series had last year. Over 50% of its sales come from India and LATAM combined. It registered the highest MoM growth among the smartphones in the list.
The entry-level Galaxy A03 Core captured the eighth position and was the best-selling smartphone under $100 wholesale price. CALA contributed almost two-thirds of its sales in April.
Despite flat sales in April, the Redmi Note 11 LTE, which contributed 11% to Xiaomi’s total sales, retained a spot on the top 10 list in April. With a quarter of all Note 11 LTEs having been sold in CALA in April, the region is emerging as one of Xiaomi’s key growth drivers. The brand has been facing supply issues and its overall sales declined by around 25% compared to April 2021.
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.
Samsung led the February 2022 top 10 5G Android smartphones list with five spots, according to Counterpoint Research Handset Model Sales Tracker. The brand’s Galaxy A52s 5G was the best-selling 5G Android smartphone globally, followed by the Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S21 FE 5G and Galaxy A32 5G. These smartphones along with the Galaxy A22 5G, which took the tenth position, contributed over half of Samsung’s 5G sales in February 2022. Driven by these models, Samsung led the overall 5G Android segment in February 2022, capturing almost 24% of the global 5G Android smartphone sales.
Besides Samsung, HONOR captured two spots, followed by one spot each for vivo, OPPO and Xiaomi. China’s market drove the sales for these smartphones. 5G has become a standard offering in China with 5G penetration in the country being 83% in February 2022. vivo, OPPO, Xiaomi and HONOR are the top 5G Android players in the Chinese market. These brands are further expanding their 5G portfolios in the emerging markets of APAC and MEA. After separating from Huawei, HONOR is increasing its presence across price bands and focusing on the premium segment as well, with expansion plans for Europe and Asia.
Overall, the Android segment captured 67% of the global 5G sales in February 2022, with the top 10 5G Android best-selling smartphones contributing to 20% of the 5G Android smartphone sales during the month.
Samsung’s Galaxy A52s 5G continued to be the best-selling smartphone from January 2022. The model had been featuring in the top 10 best-selling 5G Android smartphones list for the previous six consecutive months. Western Europe was the major contributor to the strong performance of the Galaxy A52s 5G.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra entered the bestseller list at the second position within its launch month of February. The model’s sales started off better than the Galaxy S21. With two-thirds of sales in the Galaxy S22 series coming from the Galaxy S22 Ultra, it was the highest-selling smartphone in the series in February 2022. South Korea and the US were the key markets driving its sales.
The Galaxy S21 FE ascended to the third position in February 2022. In January 2022, the smartphone was at the tenth spot. The US and Germany were the top markets for this model. Sales were also driven by promotions offered by the US operators including Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
Samsung is bringing 5G to its budget Galaxy A Series this year. The Galaxy A32 5G and Galaxy A22 5G took the fourth and tenth positions respectively. Sub-$250 smartphones with 5G capability were the driving factor for these models. India and the UK were the top markets for the Galaxy A22. The Galaxy A32 5G’s sales were driven by the US and UK markets.
OPPO’s Reno 7 5G was the fifth best-selling 5G Android smartphone. This was also the top Android smartphone in China in February 2022. 60W fast charging, Snapdragon 778 chipset and 64 MP triple camera were some of the prominent features of this smartphone. OPPO’s rebranding of the Reno series to the mid segment in 2021 has proved to be a success.
The HONOR 60 and HONOR X30 took the sixth and ninth positions respectively. These smartphones contributed 30% towards HONOR’s share in China. The HONOR 60 featured in the top five best-selling smartphones in China in February 2022.
Sub-$350 smartphones vivo S12 and Xiaomi Redmi K40 managed to grab the seventh and eighth positions respectively, driving volumes in the mid segment.
Consumption upgrade has been a key driver of China’s economy and smartphone markets reflect this as Chinese OEMs target more profitable premium segments resulting in rising average selling prices (ASPs).
However, making premium smartphone models successful is not an easy task. In 2021, the market share of Android smartphones in the >$600 price band in China shrunk to 36.5% from 44.6% in 2020, highlighting the difficulties domestic vendors have had capturing the premium space vacated by Huawei.
iOS and Android Market Share in >$600 Wholesale Price Band in China, 2020 vs 2021
In fact, OEMs have doubled down, continuing to target the premium segment with fresh strategies like “dual premium”. Instead of having one premium product line, many Android OEMs have two or more now, resulting in the >$600 price band becoming more crowded than ever.
For example, Xiaomi has the Mi12 and Mi12 Pro series and will separately launch the Mi12 Ultra soon. HONOR has launched the Magic V and Magic 4 series, while OPPO has brought the OPPO Find N and OPPO Find X5.
Even though it can be expected that Android smartphones will recover some market share from iOS this year, such an achievement would not be a low-hanging fruit. Taking the Mi series as an example, its sales fell about 60% in January 2022 from the previous year.
Unit Sales of Mi11 and Mi12 Series in First Month After Launch (in millions)
Beyond getting the supply chain right, OEMs will need to focus on fundamentals, especially in the case of premium.
We see three key areas where high-end devices must do well.
First and foremost is the display. A premium smartphone’s screen needs to support a high refresh rate, high resolution and cutting-edge color accuracy. We are seeing more premium smartphones supporting the DCI-P3 color gamut. Meanwhile, the LTPO screen is becoming a must-have in premium smartphones these days to support variable refresh rates.
The second is photography. In the era of computational photography, OEMs are improving the auxiliary camera specifications. For example, smartphones now have an ultra-wide camera with ultra-high resolution or periscope telephoto lens. Moreover, premium smartphones are boasting the cooperation among multiple cameras to capture more information for AI algorithm to process. This trend can be exemplified by the newly launched realme GT2 Pro which has two premium 50MP rear cameras.
The third is the gaming experience. Mobile games now consume more computing resources than before to meet the gamers’ demand for a better image and smooth playing experience. Cooling is another important factor as no one wants to have the smartphone burnt while gaming.
Other important aspects include a reliable connection, with some smartphones having a 4X4MIMO (multiple input and multiple output) solution to boost capacities. As well, more balanced stereo audio functions are important to provide optimum speaker and sound experience when used without earphones. And increasingly is battery life, and specifically, fast charging or battery sustainability, hence the ubiquity of battery packs amongst Chinese consumers.
In order to grab a good share in premium market, OEMs still have long way to go. Apple’s iPhones not only have good specifications but also have the iOS system with a rich ecosystem. For example, Apple Watch users can access online fitness lessons by subscribing to Apple’s service. Apple also applies standard design philosophy to all devices and apps in its ecosystem. Huawei also did well in the premium market with its excellent photography experience which makes the OEM stands out among its peers.
realme’s 5G sales grew the fastest, at 831% YoY in Q3 2021, followed by OPPO (165% YoY) and vivo (147% YoY)
Beijing, Seoul, Taipei, London, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Hong Kong – December 29, 2021
realme was the fastest-growing 5G Android smartphone brand globally in Q3 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s monthly Market Pulse Service. realme was able to outgrow the market with its 5G smartphone sales growing 831% YoY, compared to the global 5G smartphone sales, which grew at 121% YoY. The growth helped realme retain the 6th spot in global 5G Android smartphone sales for the second consecutive quarter. Other fast-growing 5G smartphone brands include OPPO and vivo, driven by their mid-to-high-end 5G smartphones.
Global 5G Smartphone Sales: YoY Growth of Key OEMs* in Q3 2021
Commenting on the rapid growth of 5G, Research Director Tarun Pathak said, “5G as a tech has penetrated much faster than its predecessor. As 5G technology continues to evolve, we enter the next phase of growth supported by maturing and broadening device portfolios. OEMs have been continuously bringing 5G across price-tiers and regions, making it more accessible. Furthermore, the companies also actively pushed 5G smartphones due to the better availability of 5G components. OEMs with a more robust 5G portfolio were able to capture the growing mid-tier demand. realme, with its strong multi-channel strategy and a wide 5G portfolio across price-bands, helped it grow the fastest, followed by OPPO and vivo. Apple, the current 5G market leader, only entered the 5G smartphone market in Q4 2020.”
Much of realme’s growth came from China, India, and Europe. Commenting on the regional dynamics, Varun Mishra, Senior Analyst, noted “In India, realme’s 5G sales grew 9519% YoY, the most among all regions. This growth is especially remarkable for a country where 5G network is yet to be deployed. This was followed by China, where its 5G sales grew 830% YoY, making it one of the fastest-growing 5G smartphone brands in China. The third highest growth came from Europe. Furthermore, realme’s 5G growth in emerging markets has also positioned it well for the future, as 5G rollouts ramp up. Affordability and accessibility will continue to be crucial for all OEMs to capitalize on the grand 5G opportunity.”
*OEMs that sold more than 5 million 5G smartphones globally in Q3 2021.
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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.
Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – September 10, 2021
Apple’s iPhone 12 and upcoming 13 series devices are set to spike Q4 2021 global 5G shipments to nearly 200m units, helping grow 2021 total shipments to 605m, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Mobile Handset Shipment Forecasts.
Last year, Apple’s iPhone 12 accounted for 24% of all 5G smartphone shipments globally, despite a late launch in October. This year, with an earlier launch for the iPhone 13 and continued strong appetite for iOS, Counterpoint sees Apple taking 33% of all global 5G shipments.
Source: Counterpoint Research Mobile Handset Shipment Forecast, Q2 2021
The US will again be the biggest shipment driver globally, and Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director for North America, believes “even without any ‘must-have’ specs, there will be tremendous appetite for upgrading because the iOS base is old in the US. Holding periods are nearing four years. iOS faithful are ready for new devices.”
Changes to the North American carrier landscape will also provide a boost to 5G, and especially Apple. Mr. Fieldhack observes “T-Mobile has a 5G lead with its mid-band (2.5GHz) rollout and it will be aggressive in order to gain as many iOS subscribers as possible before Verizon and AT&T’s mid-band (3.5GHz) rollouts. The latter remains very aggressive upgrading both the base and switchers with aggressive promotions, and Verizon will need to keep pace to avoid missing out on premium 5G subscribers. The promotions in Q4 will be at very high levels – helping Apple.”
“Combine all of the above with a nice pricing surprise like we saw last year, and it’s possible Apple could hit a significant milestone in terms of US installed base, where Android has been bleeding share to iOS, which now sits at around 44%. A strong holiday season, some economic recovery, further COVID easing and continued privacy and services push from Cupertino could certainly be enough to nudge the balance in Apple’s favor.”
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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