Smartphone shipments tipped for annual decline

Counterpoint Research predicted smartphone shipments would fall to their lowest level in a decade this year, on slowing demand in key regions.

Preliminary figures point to a 6 per cent drop in shipments to 1.2 billion units, with the company highlighting weakness in Asia-Pacific (excluding China and India), North America and China.

Jeff Fieldhack, research director for North America, cited a disconnect between the region’s economy and device purchases, noting 2023 to date had been marked by “record low upgrades across all carriers”.

Counterpoint Research asserted premium and ultra-premium devices are bucking the broader shipment decline, noting this could propel Apple to the top spot given its range is top-heavy.

Ethan Qi, associate director for China, explained the premium segment “continues to gain” share in the nation, leaving Apple “well positioned” there.

The unveiling of Apple’s latest flagship iPhone next month could provide operators an opportunity to “steal high-value customers” during Q4, Fieldhack noted.

But he acknowledged production issues which reportedly hit Apple in 2022 muddy the waters of the prediction: “it’s really a toss-up at this point”.

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