Global Smartphone Shipments To Reach Decade Low In 2023: Counterpoint Research

Asia is one of the major hurdles to positive growth, as headwinds halt the economic turnaround anticipated for China at the start of the year, and the broader region experiences intensifying declines across emerging markets, according to preliminary figures from Counterpoint Research.

   

2023 is on track to become the worst year for global smartphone shipments in a decade, with a 6 per cent decline to reach 1.15 billion units, a report showed on Thursday.

Asia is one of the major hurdles to positive growth, as headwinds halt the economic turnaround anticipated for China at the start of the year, and the broader region experiences intensifying declines across emerging markets, according to preliminary figures from Counterpoint Research.

Regional macro risks are extending smartphone replacement rates to record levels. North America continues to be a major drag on global recovery, with a disappointing first half of 2023 setting it up for double-digit full-year declines.

Despite strength in the jobs market and inflation falling, consumers are hesitant to upgrade their devices, pushing replacement rates for the US and globally to record highs, the report noted.

However, premium and ultra-premium growth is a trend that is happening globally and favours vendors like Apple which have portfolios heavily weighted in the higher segments, said the report.

The year could mark the start of a new era for Apple as a resilient premium market and strong showing in the US could help it become number one globally in terms of annual shipments for the first time ever.

“It’s the closest Apple’s been to the top spot. We’re talking about a spread that’s literally a few days’ worth of sales. Assuming Apple doesn’t run into production problems like it did last year, it’s really a toss-up at this point,” said Jeff Fieldhack, research director for North America.

The analysts are watching Q4 with interest because the “iPhone 15 launch is a window for carriers to steal high-value customers”.

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