Kantar: most people are looking to buy a 5G phone as shoppers return to stores

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Two thirds of people that plan to buy a new phone in the next 6 months will be looking for a 5G model, shows data by Kantar. That is the average around the world, in China a whopping 91% of people want a 5G phone. Care to guess which country has the lowest demand for next-gen networking? It’s Japan with only 55% of future buyers looking for 5G.

In the US, 74% of future buyers are are interested in the new networking technology with a fairly even split between the major carriers. This is reflected in the sales too. Of the Top 10 phones sold in China, 7 have 5G connectivity. In the US and Australia the number was 5 and the number was the lowest in the EU5 (the five biggest markets in Europe) at just 4. Surprisingly, despite the weak interest, half of the Top 10 phones sold in Japan have 5G.

Smartphone OS Sales Share (%)

Germany 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  26 25.1 -0.9
Android/ HarmonyOS 73.3 74.4 1.1
Other  0.7 0.5 -0.2
GB 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  37.8 37.6 -0.2
Android/ HarmonyOS 62.1 62 -0.1
Other  0.1 0.5 0.4
France 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  24.7 20 -4.7
Android/ HarmonyOS 75.1 79.9 4.8
Other  0.1 0.1 0
Italy 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  16.3 20.6 4.3
Android/ HarmonyOS 83.2 79.4 -3.8
Other  0.4 0 -0.4
Spain 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  10.7 12.7 2
Android/ HarmonyOS 89.3 87 -2.3
Other  0 0.3 0.3
USA 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  43.1 44.7 1.6
Android/ HarmonyOS 56.9 55.3 -1.6
Other  0 0 0
China 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  16.9 19.2 2.3
Android/ HarmonyOS 83.1 80.7 -2.4
Other  0.1 0.1 0
Australia 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
Android/ HarmonyOS 58.6 59.7 1.1
Other  0.2 0.1 -0.1
Japan 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  49.7 44.9 -4.8
Android/ HarmonyOS 50.2 55.1 4.9
Other  0.1 0 -0.1
EU5 3 m/e Jun ’20 3 m/e Jun ’21 % pt.  Change
iOS  23.4 23.5 0.1
Android/ HarmonyOS 76.3 76.3 0
Other  0.3 0.3 0

COVID-19 still affects the market, but growing vaccination rates have encouraged people to return to stores. In-store sales in the UK were up 13% in Q2 compared to Q1, in the US the increase was 7%, the up-tics in Germany (+4%) and Spain (+3%) were smaller. Customers in China, Japan and Australia were less willing to return to stores.

Those buying their new phone phone in a store (instead of online) were marginally more likely to agree with the statement “I keep my smartphone for as long as I can” (it’s close, 80% vs. 77%). They tend to prefer brands they are familiar with and preferred to have someone to demonstrate new technology (which is more difficult to do with online stores).

Were people buying more Android phones or more iPhones? Android had the upper hand in Japan (thanks to higher sales by Sharp and Oppo) and in parts of Europe (with strong sales from Oppo and Samsung). Samsung sales increased in the US and Australia too, though they still lag behind iPhones.

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