The year 2023 is reportedly set to be the worst year for the global smartphone market. The market may see one of the lowest smartphone shipments in a decade. According to preliminary figures from Counterpoint Research, 2023 shipments are forecast to decline 6% to 1.15 billion units, the lowest in a decade.
Asia is forecasted to be 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 the report.
Regional macro risks are said to be extending smartphone replacement rates to record levels. North America too 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.
The report further noted that 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 silver lining
One segment that seems to be growing is the premium and ultra-premium. The growth in this segment is a trend that is happening globally. The numbers in the segment favours vendors like Apple which have portfolios heavily weighted in the higher segments.
The report foresees the year 2023 marking the start of a new era for Apple as a resilient premium market. The company’s 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.
iPhone 15 launch may give further boost
The analysts are watching Q4 with interest because the “iPhone 15 launch is a window for carriers to steal high-value customers”. “And with that big iPhone 12 installed, the base up for grabs promos are going to be aggressive, leaving Apple in a good spot,” Fieldhack noted.
In China, “Apple is well positioned as the premium segment continues to gain more share,” added Ethan Qi, associate director for China.
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