US Smartphone Sales Slump, As Customers Delay Upgrading

Worrying sign for mobile manufacturers after US sales of smartphones in January fell significantly, amid weak demand.

Reuters reported that new data from Counterpoint Research US smartphone sales plunged 10 percent in January on weak demand for cheaper Android devices, and as customers delayed upgrades ahead of the launch of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S24 series.

Last month it was revealed that Apple was offering extremely unusual iPhone discounts in China, as it faces increased competition from domestic rivals including Huawei and Xiaomi, amid slowing demand.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be available in four new finishes: black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium. Image credit: Apple

Sales drop

According to the Reuters report, Counterpoint found that US smartphone sales last month were nearly half of the record levels seen in the same period in 2017, adding to concerns that the market may have peaked.

“Tough times in the volume-driven low-end coupled with delayed upgrades in anticipation of new products drove the market lower,” Maurice Klaehne, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, was quoted as saying.

It should be noted that smartphone shipments (as well as PC, laptop sales) have waned after the pandemic-driven boom.

Indeed, other factors such as the uncertain economic outlook and lack of significant new features has resulted in many consumers opting not to upgrade to the latest handset, but instead stick with their current device.

Samsung has moved away from constant upgrading of camera systems favoured by many smartphone manufacturers in recent years, to offering multiple artificial intelligence (AI) functions including a two-way voice translation in real-time for its for its new Galaxy smartphones, which went on sale on 17 January.

According to Reuters, Counterpoint said the S24 series has performed well in the US market during the initial 1-2 weeks of launch, and that it could spark a rebound in smartphone sales in February.

Apple, meanwhile, continued to gain market share in the US in January, thanks to promotional offers for its iPhone 15 series, coupled with demand from more budget focused buyers for older iPhone models.

Best selling 2023 smartphones

Counterpoint also released data this week that showed the top ten selling smartphones during 2023.

According to Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker, Apple, for the first time captured the top seven positions in the global list of best-selling smartphones in 2023, with iPhone 14 being the top selling smartphone in 2023, followed by the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Pro.

Samsung secured the remaining three places in the list, marking an increase of one spot from the 2022 list.

Counterpoint noted that has been no other brands on the list since 2021.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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