In April, one in every five smartphones sold were 5G-capable. That was primarily driven by the adoption of the Galaxy S20 smartphones. However, the 5G adoption rate jumping to 20% is rather surprising, where the economy is essentially crashing due to the Coronavirus.
Samsung's decision to only sell 5G versions of the Galaxy S20 in the US, has made the adoption rate jump much higher in the US compared to China. Even though there are only about 10 5G models sold in the US, and there are 29 in China.
Around March 7, you can see that the number of 5G smartphones sold in the US jumped pretty dramatically. From around 2% of sales to over 25% of sales. Then it dropped a bit leading into April.
This means that there are many people not buying flagship smartphones though
Since it is only one in every five smartphones sold that are 5G devices, that means that about 80% of the country are either not buying flagships, or not buying flagships from 2020. Since all of the flagships so far, launched in 2020 have been 5G-only. That really only includes the Galaxy S20 series, OnePlus 8 series and the LG V60 ThinQ.
Though, this shouldn't be a surprise. Flagships aren't the biggest market for smartphones in the US, even though that is what everyone focuses on. Many in the US are just looking for a smartphone that is somewhat cheap and can get the job done. So devices like Samsung's Galaxy A series, and the LG Stylo series do really well actually. And none of those – through April – have 5G support. Samsung does have a couple Galaxy A devices that will do 5G, but they aren't yet available.
This is happening, despite the economy crashing
The economy is currently crashing, due to this pandemic. With over 30 million Americans out of work right now, the stock market has tumbled quite a bit. And many people are tightening their belt. Because they simply don't know when they are going to be getting back to work and able to pay their bills.
So it's rather surprising to see this many 5G devices being sold. Seeing as 5G smartphones do cost a fair amount more than non-5G smartphones. After all, 5G is the reason why the OnePlus 8 Pro starts at $899, and not about $200 cheaper.
This is pretty surprising, but a good thing for the future of 5G. However, smartphone makers are still forced to make a separate variant for Verizon right now since it is the only one doing mmWave for 5G and not Sub-6.