North America and Western Europe’s smartphone markets are led by iPhone, as 5G overtakes 4G


In January 2022, new data from Counterpoint shows that sales of 5G smartphones overtook those of 4G for the first time. In January, sales of 5G smartphones surpassed 50%. Increased consumption in these regions was largely driven by China, North America, and Western Europe.

According to Counterpoint Research, China’s telecom operators and the willingness of OEMs to supply competitively priced 5G smartphones pushed the adoption of 5G.

73% of North American and 76.6% of European smartphone owners are using 5G networks. North American and Western European markets are dominated by Apple, with a 50 percent and 30 percent sales share, respectively. After Apple released its first 5G lineup, the iPhone 12 series, in October 2020, these markets saw an increase in the sales of 5G devices.

According to Counterpoint, Apple’s user base has a growing need for 5G smartphones. Many users are only now making the switch from their 4G devices to 5G ones, given the average replacement cycle of four years.

In January, Android accounted for one-fifth of the total number of 5G devices sold worldwide. Cheaper chips from MediaTek and Qualcomm helped bring smartphone prices down to the $150–$250 mark. The adoption of 5G smartphones has increased in tandem with the decline in their price.

In addition, OEMs are focusing on the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Latin America regions to increase sales of 5G devices. At $150 or less, the sweet spot for 5G models in these areas is where current 4G networks are strongest.

Counterpoint claims that a low-end 5G SoC currently costs more than $20. As soon as the price drops below $20, we can expect to see more 5G devices in the budget market.


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