Global Smartphone Sales Show Signs of Recovery with Emerging Market Growth

After 27 consecutive months of decline, global smartphone sales finally saw an upswing in October. This positive trend was primarily driven by a recovery in emerging markets, according to data from Counterpoint Research. The report also highlights the impact of new product launches and the onset of the festive season in India.

Counterpoint Research reveals that October witnessed a 5% year-on-year growth in sell-through transactions, indicating retail sales volume. This growth was predominantly driven by emerging markets, particularly the Middle East, Africa, and China. Huawei, in particular, experienced the most rapid growth among smartphone manufacturers in China during Q3. The release of its Mate 60 Pro smartphone in September generated significant consumer interest, thanks to its advanced chip technology.

The launch of Apple’s iPhone 15 series in late September also contributed to the surge in smartphone sales. Counterpoint Research explains that the delayed release of the new iPhone by a week allowed the full effect of the sales to be felt in October. This further boosted global smartphone sales for the month.

Global smartphone sales have faced several challenges such as component shortages, inventory build-up, and longer replacement cycles. These issues were further compounded by an uncertain macroeconomic environment. As a result, sales had declined year-on-year for more than two years. However, Canalys, another tech research firm, reported a slowdown in the decline, with a 1% drop in smartphone shipments in Q3 compared to a 10% decrease in the previous quarter.

Counterpoint Research data reveals that Samsung maintained its position as the leading global smartphone manufacturer in Q3, capturing a 20% share of total smartphone sales. Apple followed closely with a 16% market share. Chinese brands Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo secured 12%, 10%, and 8% shares, respectively. These figures demonstrate the fierce competition between established players and emerging Chinese brands.

Counterpoint Research predicts further growth for the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter. Following the strong performance in October, the research firm expects a year-on-year market growth in Q4 2023, setting the stage for a gradual recovery in the upcoming quarters. The rising demand for new offerings in emerging markets, coupled with the approaching holiday season, is expected to drive this growth.

October marked a significant turning point for global smartphone sales after a prolonged period of decline. The recovery was fueled by robust performance in emerging markets, as well as the impact of new product launches. However, challenges such as component shortages and longer replacement cycles continue to affect the industry. The competitive landscape remains dynamic, with established players and Chinese brands vying for market share. Despite these challenges, the future appears promising for the global smartphone market, with expectations of sustained growth in the coming quarters.

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