Apple, for the first time, captured the top seven positions in the global list of best-selling smartphones in 2023, according to Counterpoint Research.
Global smartphone shipments in 2023 are projected to decline 5% YoY to reach 1.2 billion, the lowest level in almost a decade, according to Counterpoint Research. However, the shipments are expected to increase by 3% in 4Q23 to reach 312 million units.
North America (NAM) and Europe’s shipments are expected to remain stagnant. But China and emerging markets such as the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and India have managed to break out from their declines and will recover to become the new drivers of growth in the smartphone market from 4Q23 onwards.
Apple, the usual market leader in Q4 with its newly launched series, is expected to record a volume decline of 3% in Q4, mainly due to Huawei’s aggressive expansion in China and prolonged delay in smartphone upgrades in Japan. However, Apple will try to offset the underperformance in volume terms by growing in value terms with a better product mix. In 4Q22, the shipment share of the iPhone 14 Pro series in the entire iPhone 14 series was 61%. In 4Q23, however, the iPhone 15 Pro series’ portion in the iPhone 15 series is projected to increase to 65%.
After destocking efforts end with a relatively healthy inventory by the year-end, smartphone shipments in 2024 are projected to grow by 3%. We can also expect a recovery focused on emerging markets, backed by increasing consumer confidence and improving macroeconomic conditions. Apple will be just in line with the market growth in 2024 while facing pressures in its traditional markets. The retention of high-interest rates in the US, which hit consumer spending, and intensifying competition in China’s premium smartphone market, mainly due to Huawei, are expected to hinder Apple’s growth throughout 2024. Huawei, driven by its newly launched Mate 60 5G series and older P-series 4G devices, recorded an enormous success in 3Q023.
“India, maintaining its momentum for premiumization, is expected to become Apple’s new growth focus. Apple’s India shipments are predicted to grow 23% in 2024. However, due to its underperformance against Huawei in China, Apple’s global market share will unavoidably decline slightly in 4Q23 and across 2024,” said Liz Lee, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.