US consumers confused about 5G


One in five think 5G is not needed, while one in five think they already have 5G when they do not

Awareness of 5G is high in the US, however it appears many smartphone owners do not truely understand what it is.

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, 57% of smartphone owners claim to be basically or very familiar with 5G, with one in four people thinking 5G is an important feature.

However, one in five think they already have 5G when they do not, and one in five of those questioned either do not yet see a need for 5G, or will wait until the technology is proven.

David Kerr, senior VP at Strategy Analytics, noted: “The industry has created a 5G problem where one in five think they have 5G already. Even among Apple fans, 27% believe their flagship device is already 5G despite the fact that Apple does not yet have such a device.”

The good news is that almost half of premium buyers in the US, happy to spend $1000-plus, are willing to pay more. The bad news is that smartphone price is overwhelmingly the biggest factor for not buying 5G for many.

Kerr continued: “Three in four expect 5G to increase smartphone prices but an element of sticker shock is likely as one third [of respondents]expect prices to rise less than 10%. The reality of 5G device prices in 2019 is likely to be closer to $1000. Only about 7% of buyers spend that much today.”

Altogether, 25% of African American and 23% of Hispanic people in the US expect to buy a 5G device in next 5 months.

Apple is beating Samsung by 36 points in Gen Z and 11 points in the Hispanic segment in terms of 5G purchase intent. LG and Motorola are most at risk given their low repeat purchase intentions.

Ken Hyers, director at Strategy Analytics, added: “Privacy, security, exclusive apps and WOW features importance grow with 5G familiarity while faster download [and]upload speeds are table stakes. Work life balance and time management are emerging trends impacting replacement behavior and may offer opportunities for differentiation once table stakes items are addressed.”

Strategy Analytics consumer insights team developed and analysed results of an online survey with 2,500 smartphone owners using a US nationally representative sampling of owners aged 18-64 years.


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