Despite a global increase in smartphone shipments, the US smartphone market declined sharply in Q1 2024. Data estimated by research firm Counterpoint reveals an 8% year-on-year (YoY) drop in shipments stateside. It was the sixth consecutive quarter of YoY shipment decline. Sales were particularly low in the sub-$300 segment where many Android OEMs play.

The US smartphone market couldn’t keep up with the rest of the world

Over the past few weeks, many research firms have posted their analysis of the global smartphone market for the first three months of 2024. While the numbers vary slightly, they all suggest that the market is recovering after a sluggish performance between 2021 and 2023. Counterpoint itself reported a 6% YoY growth in shipments to reach 296.9 million units.

However, the US market didn’t have the same growth trajectory as the rest of the world in Q1 2024. Various factors led to a decline in smartphone shipments in the country. Counterpoint says it was primarily due to stronger shipments in the first quarter of 2023. “COVID-19-related factory closures” pushed Apple’s iPhone sales from Q4 2022 into Q1 of last year.

That said, a sixth consecutive quarter of decline also hints at a widening upgrade cycle. People are now holding on to their phones longer than before. A stagnation in the low-end Android market also contributed to this decline. “The sub-$300 segment saw continued declines due to weakness in the prepaid market, with carriers pushing for 5G smartphone SKUs, causing some OEMs to pull away from the market,” Counterpoint explained.

Apple remains the biggest smartphone company in the US with a market share of 52%, unchanged from Q1 2023. Samsung in the second spot, meanwhile, benefitted from an early launch of the Galaxy S24 series. Its market share grew from 27% to 31%, its highest Q1 share in four years. Samsung’s smartphone shipments in the US grew this past quarter. Motorola’s share also increased slightly, while other brands suffered a decline.

US smartphone market Q1 2024 Counterpoint

The US smartphone market may recover in the second half of 2024

Counterpoint doesn’t expect the US smartphone market to recover before Q3 2024. New product launches from Samsung, Google, and Apple might help shipments to finally increase in the second half of the year. “Looking ahead, 2024 may remain a challenging year for OEMs given how upgrade rates have continued to remain low against the backdrop of macroeconomic headwinds triggered by high interest rates,” the firm said.

Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 foldables in July. Apple may follow with the iPhone 16 series in September, while Google will launch the Pixel 9 series in October. Several other firms will unveil new products in the coming months. It remains to be seen whether these launches make a big impact on the US smartphone market in the second half of 2024.

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