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US smartphone shipments fell 19% in Q3 2023

02. 11. 2023 Thursday / By: Robert Denes / Business / Exact time: BST / Print this page

A ccording to Counterpoint Research Market Monitor, US smartphone shipments fell by 19% in the third quarter of 2023. Samsung, Google, and TCL saw sharp declines in smartphone shipments of 26%, 37%, and 51%, respectively. However, Motorola and Nokia HMD managed to increase their shipments by 31% and 17% respectively compared to the same period last year.

Apple's shipments were down 11% from the third quarter of 2022, partly due to the later release of the iPhone 15 series compared to the iPhone 14 series, pushing some shipments to the fourth quarter of 2023.

Commenting on Q3 2023 performance, research analyst Matthew Orf said: “OEMs were cautious in increasing shipments during the quarter as consumer demand remained weak. While carrier upgrade rates were up slightly from last quarter, they remained well below normal as consumers decided to stick with their devices instead of upgrading. Increased durability with better build quality, less impressive updates to new smartphone releases, and an uncertain macroeconomic environment have all contributed to the malaise we're seeing in the US smartphone market.”

Maurice Klaehne, senior research analyst, said: “Despite a 19% decline in total smartphone shipments, some brands posted growth. With refreshed portfolios and stronger presence in prepaid and national retail channels, Motorola and Nokia HMD were able to buck the market trend and achieve growth. Samsung and TCL have struggled at the low end of the market with devices nearing end of life (EOL).

Regarding the foldable device market trend, Klaehne said, “Foldable devices are a potential bright spot in the US smartphone market with an increasing number of foldable Android options. Samsung launched its Galaxy Z Flip and Fold 5 in August, OnePlus launched its first foldable device, and Motorola launched the sub-$900 Motorola Raz 2023 in early Q4 2023.

Commenting on the prepaid and postpaid market, VP Hanish Bhatia said: “Postpaid providers continue to face strong competition from cable providers Spectrum and Xfinity. This is due to aggressive promotions and the combination of mobile and broadband. Verizon has been on the back foot, but will rapidly expand its 5G midband coverage in 2023-2024. On the prepaid side, the first half of 2023 saw a lot of events: T-Mobile acquired Mint Mobile, Verizon lost TracFone subscribers while increasing Total Wireless' retail footprint, Dish consolidated its prepaid brand portfolio, and new MVNOs announced and in the retail market."

Commenting on the iPhone 15 launch and overall market outlook, research director Jeff Fieldhack said: “Despite carriers continuing to offer strong promotions during the quarter, carrier refresh rates remained at record lows. In the fourth quarter, we expect a seasonal pick-up in refresh rates, but they are likely to remain lower than the same period last year. There is a large installed base of iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users in the US who are likely to upgrade to the iPhone 15 series this year. But while we saw the usual high wait times when the iPhone 15 series launched, they came back down to earth faster than the iPhone 14 series, which could indicate that the drop in demand for consumer smartphones will extend to the iPhone 15 in Q4 2023.”

A huge surprise in the US market, which makes it quite unusual that we previously thought that the sales of iPhones and the best Samsung models were expected to increase, the opposite happened, i.e. they decreased. Only two brands, Motorola and HMD's Nokia, managed to ship more phones than the listed brands despite the apparent decline in consumer demand. It is true that in the year 2022 it was already visible that the fall of Samsung and iPhone would increase, which unfortunately happened.


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