Annus horribilis. 2023 is likely to be the worst year for the global smartphone sales market in a decade. According to preliminary data consolidated by Counterpoint Research, it is expected to contract by 6% with 1.15 billion units sold. « Asia is one of the main obstacles to positive growth “, observes the research firm. China is slow to recover its economy and weak demand from Asian emerging markets is weighing on sales.
North America is the other major obstacle to the global recovery and Counterpoint Research expects, after a disappointing first half, a double-digit decline in sales for the whole year on this continent. Despite the strength of the labor market and the decline in inflation across the Atlantic, American consumers are reluctant to replace their devices. More generally, the firm notes a decoupling between the real economy and purchasing behaviors.
No recovery before 2024
This decrease of 6% over the whole of 2023 is not surprising. After a fall in sales of around 11% in 2022, the year had started very badly. IDC and Canalys had estimated, at the end of April, the decline in sales over the first quarter between 13 and 14.6%. This degradation of the new market benefited, mechanically, that of reconditioning. At the time, the two analyst firms hoped for a rebound in sales before the end of 2023 thanks to the generalization of 5G and the wow effect of foldable terminals, the only models to escape the decline.
In this new school year, these hopes for recovery seem doused. For Sony, which expected an improvement from this second half of the year, the turnaround will not occur at best until 2024. Interviewed by Bloomberg, a Japanese brand executive makes the same observation as Counterpoint Research: ” The recovery of the smartphone market in China is slower than expected and conditions in the US market are deteriorating. »
The iPhone 15 effect
In this context of gloom, Apple should pull its weight. According to Counterpoint Research, the Apple firm would be well placed – for the first time in its history – to take the first place in the world ranking of manufacturers from Samsung if it does not encounter production problems like last year.
While iPhone sales fell by another 2.4% in the third quarter, Apple is benefiting from strong winds for the rest of the year. Not only does the high-end market on which the American giant is positioned offer more resilience, especially in China where the premium segment continues to gain market share, but it will benefit from the iPhone 15 effect.
Expected at the end of September, the launch of the new iPhone will boost Apple’s sales in the fourth quarter. Especially since, as Counterpoint Research reports, the American manufacturer will benefit from the replacement wishes of the owners of the old models of the brand, the installed bass of iPhone 12 being particularly important. The firm expects aggressive promotions.