5G smartphones to see huge sales boost in India this year

5G smartphone
Image by Focussa | Bigstockphoto

Sales of 5G smartphones are expected to more than triple in India this year and account for 40% of sales volume contribution compared to just 12% in 2021, according to international market research firm GfK.

While commercial 5G has yet to be launched in India, GfK says the anticipated rollouts later this year – which should result in C-band 5G services going live in early 2023 – will boost 5G smartphone sales as Indian consumers look to future-proof their smartphone purchases with 5G enabled handsets.

That’s assuming 5G spectrum auctions – which have already been pushed back multiple times, stay on the current schedule to take place in June 2022.

The projected rapid adoption is also expected to drive up the average selling price (ASP). While the ASP for smartphones in India was a little over Rs 14,800 (roughly less than $200) in 2021, prices for 5G handsets were 117% higher.

At a total market level, the ASP of handsets moved up 12.3% in 2021 compared to 2020 for both offline and online channels combined.

GfK said that the rapid expansion of 5G handsets is expected to drive premiumization of the market.

“Although 5G is an important factor influencing the market, its potential has not yet been fully exploited. 5G will be very important to drive some of the latest technologies of voice and camera applications which would be AI driven,” it said.

Counterpoint Research recently reported that 5G smartphone shipments registered 555% year-on-year growth in 2021 with Chinese brands Vivo leading 5G smartphone shipments with a 19% market share for the whole year. However, Samsung was the top brand in 5G smartphone shipments in October-December quarter of 2021.

Another Chinese brand, Realme, aims to focus on the sub-$100 5G smartphone segment in 2022.

Reliance Jio is also developing a new affordable 5G version of its JioPhone, which is expected to launch alongside the operator’s upcoming 5G service. The JioPhone 5G could be priced anywhere between $120-$160.

Meanwhile another report from IDC said that it expects 5G smartphone ASPs in 2022 to be high due to the rising cost of components and the higher share of 5G smartphones.

“The transition from 4G to 5G will continue to drive growth, though still restricted to mid and high-tier price segments,” said Upasana Joshi, Research Manager, Client Devices at IDC India. “Consumers continue to demand better features like the camera, battery, and processors over 5G capability in the entry-level price segments.”

Joshi added India’s large feature phone base will remain crucial but elusive to the smartphone market in the absence of any affordable offerings at the entry level.

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