Wireless Chargeable Smartphones: Trend to Look Out For in 2020?

  • Shipments of wireless-charging-enabled smartphones in the $401 to $600 price range grew by 365 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019
  • Huawei unveiled its first wireless charging phone in the fourth quarter of 2018

Shipments of wireless-charging-enabled smartphones in the $401-to-$600 price range grew by 365 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019. These shipments, as per an Omdia report, were driven by price cuts in Apple’s iPhone XR price.

“The increase in wireless charging-enabled shipments in the $401-to-$600 price segment was triggered by Apple’s price reduction on the iPhone XR, which features wireless-charging capability. After a $150 price cut in the fourth quarter, the iPhone XR dropped into the less-than-$600 price category. A total of 12 million wireless devices in this price tier are Apple devices, with 7.7 million iPhone XRs,” said Anna Ahrens, senior analyst, smartphone and mobile, Omdia.

From premium to mid/high-end priced smartphones

Prior to the fourth quarter, more than 90 per cent of phones with wireless charging capabilities were premium and high-end devices. Apple’s and Samsung’s flagship phones accounted for the majority of the share.

However, in the fourth quarter of 2019, the portion of phones with wireless charging priced below $600 reached 18.8 per cent at 16 million units. The same figures stood at four million in the fourth quarter of 2018 and six million in the third quarter of 2019. In turn, the penetration rate for wireless charging-enabled smartphones within the $401-to-$600 price segment reached 58.7 per cent, at 16 million units.

Not a priority for smartphones above $600

Wireless charging, as per the Omdia report, has not been a top priority for OEMs with phones priced at less than $600. OPPO, Vivo, as well as Samsung, for its mid-range phones, prefer camera innovations, battery performance, fast charging option or connectivity upgrades over wireless charging.

“Low charging efficiency, the additional cost for the wireless charger on the consumers’ side and the low valuation of wireless charging feature among Chinese consumers, hinder the wider adoption of wireless charging feature within those price tier. Therefore, it is unlikely that Apple entering this segment will change OEMs’ strategy and adoption of wireless charging,” read the report.

It continued, “In 2019, the overall share of smartphones with wireless charging grew 2.7 percent compared to 2018, reaching 18.5 percent. While this development is still positive, adoption growth slowed compared to the 5.6 percent annual growth from 2017 to 2018. This slowdown is attributed to a decline in wireless charging-enabled units in Samsung’s portfolio.”

Facts and figures

  • 165 million out of 195 million total shipped, featured wireless charging options
  • All iPhones released since the third quarter of 2017 are equipped with this feature
  • Out of the 56 million Huawei smartphones shipped, 11 million were wireless charging-enabled
  • Samsung has equipped the premium Galaxy S, Note and Fold-series devices with wireless charging