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5G to Drive Sales of Smartphones, High-End Computers

The 5G market will go through fits and starts predicts The NPD Group.

The march toward 5G will experience fits and starts as we head toward a more connected future. And while the focus has been on smartphones and mobile use cases, there are a lot of benefits to be gleaned from 5G. 

That's according to Ben Arnold, an analyst at research firm The NPD Group, who laid out the impact 5G will have on the future during a keynote presentation at CES.

RELATED:  NETWORK OPERATORS NEED TO DO MORE TO PREPARE FOR 5G ROLLOUTS 

5G to drive sales of smartphones

While smartphone manufacturers will benefit from a smartphone replacement cycle as 5G networks are built out smart cities will also thrive and medicine and telehealth will benefit too. 

"5G is about more than faster speeds and faster streaming of high-quality moves to our phones," said Arnold.

One area of the market that Arnold doesn't think is benefiting from 5G rollouts at least in the short term is consumer electronic devices. According to Arnold purchase expectations for consumer electronics is rising with sales expected to be up 5% in 2020. A lot of these expected purchases of everything from smartwatches to smart speaker isn't being driven by 5G awareness, however.

"For the most part if you live in an area where broadband is available consumer tech products are working well," said Arnold. "There's always room to increase speeds. There's always a desire to make that 4K stream on Netflix a little smoother but I'm not sold on the idea that everyone will instantly connect to a 5G network."

Consumers electronic devices won't get a lift from 5G

One market outside of smartphones that is expected to see a boost in sales from 5G, at least according to Arnold, is in the premium computer market. While 5G won't drive sales of cheaper consumer electronics, consumers and companies who are already paying top dollar for a computer will pay to get that faster Internet connection. Arnold pointed to Intel's always on always-connected PC it talked up at CES earlier this week. "That idea gets more interesting to consumers with the prospect of 5G on the horizon." 

On the gaming front, Arnold said the benefit from 5G won't come to the game console marker but rather the gaming services that provide cloud-based access to different game titles. With the growth in mobile gaming set to explode the faster speeds 5G will brings will only make that a better experience for the mobile players. 

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