Smartphone Shipments To Rebound In 2024, Says Counterpoint

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Relief for Apple, Samsung etc after smartphone shipments are predicted to recover in 2024, as inflation eases

The tough period for smartphone manufacturers could nearing an end, after a new report from Counterpoint Research.

On Thursday, Counterpoint’s Global Smartphone Shipment Forecast predicted that global smartphone shipments in 2024 are expected to record a modest rebound of 3 percent year on year (YoY) to reach 1.2 billion units.

This will be welcome news for the likes of Apple, Samsung and others, who last year witnessed a smartphone shipment decline of more than 4 percent.

Indeed Apple has recently been offering extremely unusual iPhone discounts in China, where it faces increased competition from domestic rivals including Huawei and Xiaomi, amid slowing demand that continued into early 2024.

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Budget segment

The scale of Apple’s struggles in one of the largest smartphone markets in the world was revealed by Counterpoint research in early March, after it found that during the first six weeks of 2024, Apple’s smartphone unit sales in China had declined by 7 percent year-on-year.

But now the market tracker is offering hope for the future, after it predicted a modest smartphone shipment rebound of 3 percent in 2024.

Counterpoint said that the budget-economy segment ($150-$249), which shrank YoY in 2023 due to macroeconomic headwinds, especially in emerging markets, and the premium segment ($600-$799), are expected to drive this rebound.

It added that unlike 2023, emerging markets such as India and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are expected to drive the global smartphone market’s growth in 2024, supported by the budget-economy segment that has “robust inventory.”

It said that the budget-economy segment ($150-$249), which experienced a noticeable decline in 2023, is expected to rebound 11 percentYoY in 2024, primarily driven by India, MEA and CALA (Caribbean And Latin American) markets.

Counterpoint added that as inflationary pressures have eased considerably across Africa, and local currencies have stabilised in many countries, the consumer purchasing power has recovered, benefiting the $150-$249 segment.

Premium segment

Counterpoint also said that the premium segment ($600-$799) is expected to maintain steady growth in 2024, rising 17 percent YoY driven primarily by older model flagships, with flip form factors also enjoying strong YoY growth.

The research group also expect GenAI smartphones and the fold segments to help support demand in ultra-premium, especially towards the latter half of the year.

It was reported this week that Apple is in talks with Google to bring its Gemini generative artificial intelligence (AI) to the iPhone platform.

Counterpoint said that from a brand perspective, Apple and Huawei are likely to lead premium and ultra-premium segment growth, with emerging markets such as India and MEA driving iPhone growth, and China to continue being a key battleground for both.

“For the longer term, we expect low-single-digit YoY increases for global smartphone shipments as the market seems to have bottomed out,” said Counterpoint.