The iPhone 12 could catapult Apple to the top of the 5G smartphone market

The smartphone market is about to experience a dramatic shift thanks to the rising popularity of 5G-ready devices. All major manufacturers are expected to take advantage of the technology and, according to Strategy Analytics, Apple could jump to an early lead by the end of next year.

Samsung will lead the way in Q1 and Q2 2020

The market data that has been gathered suggests Samsung will enter 2020 as the undisputed 5G smartphone leader. Huawei’s arch-rival got off to a great start earlier this year with the premium Galaxy S10 5G and has continued its advancements recently with the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and the Galaxy A90 5G.

Samsung will continue to rely heavily on these devices, particularly the cheaper Galaxy A90 5G, in the early months of next year to keep up sales before the 5G variants of the Galaxy S11, Galaxy S11+, and Galaxy S11e are introduced. These flagships, combined with the company’s other 5G models, lead Strategy Analytics to believe Samsung will account for an impressive 40% of all 5G smartphones sold globally during the first three months of 2020.

Moving on to the second quarter, it’s believed the bulk of sales will be made up of the Galaxy S11 lineup. Samsung is expected to release some cheaper devices too but, according to the report, this won’t be enough to maintain the overall market share. Specifically, it’s believed Samsung will end the second quarter with around 35% of the 5G market.

Huawei's going to slowly eat into Samsung's 5G share

If the forecasts prove accurate, Huawei will increase its share in the 5G market ever so slightly throughout the April-June quarter. This will be largely down to the brand’s popularity in China – it accounted for almost 42% of shipments last quarter – as the population gradually makes the switch over to 5G next year. 

Additionally, despite the headwinds it’s facing at the moment, Huawei does still account for a large portion of smartphone shipments in Europe, something that should remain largely unchanged in the early months of 2020.

In terms of what sort of devices can be expected from Huawei, the company is reportedly preparing a range of 5G smartphones that’ll target consumers on tighter budgets. Furthermore, the next-generation Huawei P40 and P40 Pro flagships are largely rumored to support 5G networks as standard, therefore acting as direct competitors to Samsung’s Galaxy S11 series.

Apple will dominate 5G in the second half of 2020

Both Samsung and Huawei will remain largely unchallenged throughout most of the third quarter. Towards the very end, though, Apple is expected to enter the race and dramatically switch things up.
Strategy Analytics believes the company’s decision to release the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max with 5G support will catapult it to the top of the 5G smartphone market. Specifically, Apple is expected to account for around 40% of all sales during the third quarter and about 50% across the final quarter of 2020. To achieve these results, the iPhone 12 series simply needs to match the iPhone 11’s performance so far, although many analysts believe the next-generation lineup will be even more popular among consumers.

The direct impact of Apple’s popularity will push Huawei’s share down to 25% in the third quarter and just 20% throughout the October-December period. Samsung, on the other hand, might see its share drop to 15% and later 10%. Long-term, Apple will see its share shrink as more and more devices switch over to 5G network support. Huawei and Samsung, on the other hand, should return to growth. In fact, Strategy Analytics predicts the latter will eventually regain its crown in the 5G market due to its overall dominance.

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