January Marks 14th Consecutive Month of YoY Decline in US Smartphone Sales

The US market continued its downward sales trend in January 2019. November of 2017 was the last month that showed a YoY volume gain.

   San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul

March 24, 2019

Smartphones sell-through in the US market fell 2.7% year-on-year (YoY) in January 2019 to 13.7 million units, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse program. This is the 14th consecutive month of YoY decline in sales and the second successive year when sales were down on a YoY basis in January.

Commenting on the slowdown, Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director stated, “There are a few reasons for the sluggishness of the US market in January. First, there were no flagship stockouts exiting 2018. There were near normal premium device channel inventories. On the prepaid side, the US government shutdown delayed the potential early tax season bump in sales. Prepaid and national retail tax season promotions were pushed from late January to mid-February. However, early indications suggest the prepaid bump was small in 2019.”

US January Smartphone Sales Year-over-Year Comparisons

US January Smartphone Sales

OEM news during the month:

  • Apple crept 1% higher in market share. Its sales mix shifted towards the iPhone XR. Sufficiently large display and the lower price called out as major drivers.
  • Samsung’s Note 9 was the top selling Android smartphone. Despite the continued strong showing from the Galaxy S9, Samsung lost some share as many consumers waited for the launch of the S10.
  • LG gained share with decent V40 sales. However, most of the gains were because of LG devices were selling well within prepaid—such as the LG Stylo 4.
  • Motorola was hurt by the continued weakness within prepaid. The E5 variants remain the company’s top sellers and remain very successful within Boost, Metro and Cricket.
  • ZTE volumes remain a small fraction of what they were before the US sanctions. However, the company did launch a new device within Verizon prepaid channels, the ZTE Visible R2. More carrier launches are expected during the second half of 2019.
  • The top selling premium price tier devices (above US$600) continue to be Apple and Samsung. The Google Pixel 3 was a distant third place.

US Top Smartphone Flagship JanBackground:

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in detailed industry analysis of the TMT sectors. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of over 15 years in high tech industries.

Analyst Contacts:

Jeff Fieldhack

+1 858 603 2703

Maurice Klaehne

+1 617 336 8383

Jeff has 25+ years experience in technology research, business development, competitive intelligence, and business management. Prior to joining Counterpoint Research, Jeff held various research & product development roles at Microsoft, Nokia, Roth Capital Partners, and Gartner. Jeff is a member of many telecom industry organizations including Colorado Wireless Association,, CommNexus, and is a regular speaker at major telecom industry events. He was a 4x NCAA all-American in tennis and is a 12-time finisher of the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.

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