Global smartphone sales rebound in October after declining for more than 2 years: Counterpoint

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds up a new iPhone 15 Pro during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California.
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Global smartphone sales rose in October after declining for 27 straight months on a year-on-year basis, led by a recovery in emerging markets, data from Counterpoint Research showed.

Sell-through transactions, or retail sales volumes, grew 5% year-on-year in October, according to the report.

“The growth has been led by emerging markets with a continuous recovery in Middle East and Africa, Huawei’s comeback in China and onset of festive season in India,” the research firm said. The developed markets with relatively higher smartphone saturation have seen a slower recovery, it added.

Huawei clocked the fastest growth among smartphone makers in China in the third quarter after the firm released its Mate 60 Pro smartphone in September which sparked a lot of consumer interest due to its advanced chip.

October also recorded the highest monthly smartphone sales since January 2022, the report said.

The launch of Apple’s iPhone 15 series in late September also helped bolster smartphone sales. “As compared to last year, the launch was delayed by a week which meant the full effect of the new iPhone sales was felt in October,” said Counterpoint Research.

Global smartphone sales have been impacted by component shortages, inventory build-up and longer replacement cycles.

“These issues have been compounded with an uncertain macroeconomic environment and as a result, global smartphones sales have declined year-on-year every month for more than 2 years,” the research firm said.

Tech research firm Canalys last month said the decline in global smartphone sales was slowing with third-quarter shipments falling just 1% compared with a 10% decline the previous quarter.

“Rising demand for fresh offerings in emerging markets is propelling brands and channels forward as the holiday season approaches,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, senior analyst at Canalys.

South Korea’s Samsung continued to lead the global smartphone market in the third quarter, with a 20% share of total smartphone sales, according to Counterpoint Research data. Apple finished second with a 16% market share, followed by Chinese brands Xiaomi (12%), Oppo (10%) and Vivo (8%).

Counterpoint Research expects the global smartphone market to grow further in the fourth quarter.

“Following strong growth in October, we expect the market to grow year-on-year in 2023 Q4 as well, setting the market on the path to gradual recovery in the coming quarters,” the research firm said.

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