No surprise, really, that 5G smartphone sales are on the way up. Frankly, there’s really no other way to go, according to the latest numbers from NPD’s Mobile Phone Tracking. The firm noted that 5G handsets accounted for less than 1% of total sales in the U.S.
The hurdles are also what you’d expect: namely, pricing and the lack of 5G availability. There’s also the fact that for much of 2019, there simply weren’t that many phones to purchase. When the devices did start arriving from companies like LG, Samsung and OnePlus, the numbers started trending upward, with an increase of roughly 9x from the first to the second half of the year.
Awareness, too, increased notably. Some nine in 10 surveyed consumers in the U.S. had some familiarity with 5G in the second half of the year, up from 73% in the first half. Meanwhile, 65% expressed “interest” in purchasing the tech. How that translates to actual sales, however, is another question entirely.
That should improve as the price of manufacturing these devices comes down, thanks to lower-cost components from companies like Qualcomm. And in markets like the U.S., 5G coverage will be greatly expanded by year’s end, making it a much more appealing purchase. And, of course, never underestimate the impact of Apple’s first 5G iPhone.
Smartphone manufacturers have very much been banking on the increased interest in 5G to help correct the larger trend of flagging sales.
Of course, it remains to be seen how COVID-19 will impact sales. It seems safe to assume that, like every aspect of our lives, there will be a notable impact on the number of people buying expensive smartphones. Certainly things like smartphone purchases tend to lessen in importance in the face of something like a global pandemic.