OEMs launching more mid-range 5G smartphones in key markets such as China and North America, rapid adoption of 5G across Chinese OEM portfolios
Global shipments of mid-tier 5G smartphones (models priced between $200 and $399) grew 193% YoY during Q2 2021 to increase their share in the total 5G smartphone shipments to 37% against 32% in Q1 2021, according to the latest Market Monitor report from Counterpoint Research. OEMs launching more mid-range 5G smartphones in key markets such as China and North America, rapid adoption of 5G across Chinese OEM portfolios, 5G chipset readiness (Qualcomm 400 series and MediaTek 700 series) and aggressive rollout of 5G networks in key markets such as the US, Japan, UK, Indonesia, Thailand, and Germany contributed to this growth.
Commenting on the market dynamics, Research Analyst Aman Chaudhary said, “We are entering a new era in the mobile technology space and that too at a blistering pace. 5G is clearly the next way forward for companies to grow and the next best technology for consumers to embrace. In the past 12 months, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of mobile devices offering 5G with advanced specifications at accessible prices. In Q1 2021, only 146 5G smartphone models were available in the wholesale price range of $200-$399. That number ballooned to an astonishing 191 models in Q2 2021, and it continues to expand.”
In Q2 2021, vivo emerged as the top 5G brand in the mid-tier price band, grabbing 30% market share, with China contributing 90% of these shipments. The growth was driven by the exceptional performance of the S9 and X60 series, which had a strong focus on value for money and advanced camera specifications respectively. The company has grown its 5G portfolio quickly to 80% of its total shipments in Q2 2021 from just 28% in Q2 2020.
OPPO was in second place in Q2 2021 with a 23% share in the mid-tier 5G smartphone price band. Its growth was primarily driven by the A55 and A93 models, which managed to occupy the space vacated by Huawei in the Chinese market.
Samsung expanded its mid-range 5G smartphone line-up in Q2 2021 with the launch of the A52 and M42 models. Its share of the affordable 5G market also increased to 8% from just 1% a year ago. This helped the brand increase its market share in India and the US.
Xiaomi increased its market share to 16% from 9% in Q2 2020 driven by the K40 and Mi 11 Lite models and its fast expansion in markets such as Europe, particularly France and Spain. realme launched the realme 8 5G in Europe, breaking the $250 barrier and increasing its market share to 6% in Q2 2021 from less than 1% in Q2 2020.
Interestingly, in order to gain market share, brands are packing some of the advanced features in their affordable 5G phones. As a result, batteries are becoming larger to support enhanced features, while also offering fast-charging capabilities. Camera technologies are more cutting edge than ever with dual cameras that offer improved imaging, rear cameras that offer 53 megapixels on average and the selfie camera that offers 21 megapixels. Improved smartphone technology calls for increased usage of the inbuilt memory. As a result, both RAM and NAND storage of 5G smartphones have been upgraded to 7.50 GB and 152 GB on average respectively. We expect 5G to become more and more accessible through the introduction of lower-priced devices and the spread of 5G connectivity in many more areas in the coming quarters.