5G handsets are becoming more popular and affordable in the US ahead of Apple's iPhone 12 release


It seems like every tech website is constantly talking about 5G smartphones nowadays and every mobile device vendor is regularly releasing handsets supporting the fastest wireless networks out there, but are actual consumers also routinely buying these hyped up and aggressively promoted products?

For certain markets, like China and South Korea, the answer to that question is absolutely, but when it comes to the US, the messy 5G rollouts of the nation's top wireless service providers are largely to blame for keeping the adoption rate comparatively low. On the bright side, the numbers are slowly and steadily going up, according to a new report put together by Counterpoint Research.

While 5G penetration was estimated at only around 1 percent stateside in 2019, the sales share of the nation's 5G-enabled phones jumped to 3.3 percent for the first month of this year before reaching a solid 13.5 percent in August 2020. In other words, roughly 1 in 7 handsets sold in total across the country between August 1 and 31 came with 5G support, which is still not a mind-blowing figure but it's definitely a whole lot better than 1 in 100 or 1 in 30.

It's also worth highlighting that after a May dip from April's 11.4 to 7.8 percent, the sales share of 5G smartphones in the US has continuously increased, surging by an average of 1.9 percentage points over the subsequent three months to post new records both in July and August.

Unfortunately, Counterpoint's latest market analysis doesn't help us convert these percentage points into actual sales numbers, but unsurprisingly, Samsung's Galaxy S20+ is still the most popular 5G device out there. The 6.7-inch model reportedly trounced its 6.2 and 6.9-inch siblings right off the bat, retaining its crown even after the affordable Galaxy A71 5G and A51 5G were released.

The two mid-range devices, along with the likes of the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge, drove the average selling price (ASP) of 5G smartphones down from over $1,000 in 2019 and $948 in Q1 2020 to $730 in July, a trend that's expected to continue once the T-Mobile REVVL 5G and Google's Pixel 5 and 4a 5G are taken into consideration.

Then again, Apple's 5G-capable iPhone 12 quartet might boost the ASP of the year's final few months while almost certainly dethroning the Galaxy S20 lineup and improving overall adoption to around 20 percent during Q4 2020. That's 1 in 5 handsets projected to be sold between October and December, which should put a big smile on the faces of many T-Mobile and Verizon executives.

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