As per the latest data from market research firm Counterpoint Research, Samsung grabbed a whopping 74 percent share of the 5G smartphone market in the US in 2019. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G was the best-selling phone in the states last year, ahead of the Galaxy S10 5G. The company had revealed in January that it shipped a total of 6.7 million 5G smartphones globally in 2019.
5G became a reality in 2019 but 5G smartphone sales were below expectations. Counterpoint Research's director Jeff Fieldhack points out that high prices of 5G phones along with limited 5G coverage and compatibility issues led to the below-par sales.
Users didn't have too many choices either. Samsung was the only company to launch more than one 5G smartphone in the US in 2019. LG and OnePlus were the other two companies to sell a 5G phone stateside.
Counterpoint Research estimates that less than 2 million were sold in the US in 2019. That is less than one percent of the overall smartphone sales in the country.
While Samsung topped the chart, its compatriot LG held the second spot with a market share of 15 percent. The LG V50 was the only 5G capable LG phone to be sold in the US last year. OnePlus' OnePlus 7 Pro 5G accounted for the remaining 11 percent of the market.
5G will grow significantly in 2020
Counterpoint Research expects 5G smartphone sales numbers to rise significantly in 2020. The firm is estimating 5G smartphones to make up 25 percent of all smartphones sold in the US this year.
Samsung is expected to continue to lead the market. The newly launched Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra are all 5G-compatible. The latter two support both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G.
Samsung will likely launch at least three more premium 5G phones by the end of this year, namely Galaxy Fold 2, Galaxy Note 20, and Note 20+. The South Korean giant could also launch one or two mid-range 5G phones this year.
The estimated 5G growth would also be powered by the release of 5G iPhones as well as several low-cost sub-$500 5G Android smartphones this year. American wireless carriers are also rapidly expanding their 5G networks nationwide.
Most recently, AT&T, the largest wireless carrier in the US, expanded its sub-6GHz 5G network to 22 new cities while also flipping the switch on its mmWave 5G Plus network in parts of 35 cities.
While 5G penetration will certainly grow this year, the coronavirus outbreak will likely affect the growth.
Research firm IDC is predicting a 2.3-percent year-on-year (YoY) decline in smartphone shipments this year due to coronavirus. Sales in the first half of 2020 are expected to fall 10.6 percent YoY as supply shortages impact demand.