Podcast: Rise of Affordable Premium Smartphones in Korea Signals a Trend Change

The Korean smartphone market is dominated by three major players – Samsung, Apple and LG. Out of the three, Samsung has a majority market share of close to 60%, whereas Apple and LG hover close to 20%. Since 2016, except 2017 (due to Galaxy Note 7 fiasco), the Galaxy S and Note series sales have been more than other devices during the first quarter period. But that changed in Q1 2020, with an “affordable premium” Galaxy A90 5G emerging as the best-seller in Korea.

Counterpoint Samsung smartphone sales share by product group, Korea
Source: Counterpoint Model Sales Tracker

A non-ultra-premium smartphone taking a top spot is a significant event that signals changing consumer needs. The COVID-19 impact could be one of the reasons why we are seeing this shift. The “affordable premium” smartphones bring top-of-the-line hardware along with flagship features without creating a hole in your pocket. The Q1 2020 best-seller in Korea, the Galaxy A90 5G, comes equipped with Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 855 SoC, triple cameras and next-gen 5G connectivity with an ASP of $453.

Counterpoint Smartphone average selling prices (ASP), Korea
Source: Counterpoint Model Sales Tracker

In the latest episode, “The Counterpoint Podcast” host Peter Richardson and research analyst Minsoo Kang discuss the rise in popularity of “affordable premium” smartphones in the Korean market. The discussion also touches upon other launches such as the Apple iPhone SE, LG Velvet, and a look at overall best-selling phones in Korea, and more.

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