London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – March 7, 2023
In 2022, Apple became the first brand to capture eight spots in the list of top 10 best-selling smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker. The remaining two spots were taken by Samsung. The top-10 list contributed 19% of the total global smartphone sales in 2022, the same as in 2021.
Apple’s iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone of 2022, contributing 28% of iPhone sales. It was the best-selling smartphone in major markets such as China, US, UK, Germany and France. Further, the iPhone 13 remained the number one smartphone each month from its launch in September 2021 till August 2022. Price cuts after the iPhone 14 series’ launch further drove the iPhone 13 volumes in developing markets. The iPhone 13 sales were two times more than that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the second best-selling smartphone in 2022.
For the first time, a Pro Max variant of an iPhone series drove more volume than its Pro and base models in 2022. It helped the iPhone 14 Pro Max to capture the third spot in the 2022 list. It was the top-selling smartphone model for September, October and November of 2022. The iPhone 14 Pro Max sales were led by early adopters and those upgrading to a higher iPhone variant. Major advancements in the iPhone 14 Pro series, such as dynamic island and faster processor, make it more attractive, as the base model is almost identical to the previous year’s model.
The iPhone 12, the best-selling smartphone of 2021, was the oldest model in the top 10 for 2022. Its sales remained robust in the US, Japan and China. The price cuts with each year’s new iPhone launch increased its value proposition while its 5G capability also played an important role. The iPhone SE 2022, among the most compact phones in the industry, grabbed the tenth spot. Like its predecessor, it managed to sell well in Japan.
With its entry-level models Galaxy A13 and Galaxy A03, Samsung took two spots on the list, one more than the previous year. The two models were the only LTE smartphones to make it to the list. The regional contribution of these models was spread more evenly than in the case of iPhones.
Offering attractive specifications for its price (<$250), the Galaxy A13, like its predecessor, continued to perform well. Caribbean and Latin America (CALA), followed by India, contributed the most to its sales. The Galaxy A03 was the most affordable smartphone on the list and the only one powered by UNISOC. The smartphone performed well in developing regions like CALA and the Middle East and Africa (MEA).
We believe the share of the top 10 smartphones will increase in 2023 as brands focus on clearing inventory and optimizing their launches. We also expect brands to continue making their portfolios leaner in 2023 to minimize cannibalization. The number of active smartphone models in the global market has already fallen from over 4,200 in 2021 to around 3,600 in 2022. At the same time, brands will focus on their portfolios’ premiumization to translate volumes into profitability.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
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New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – October 29, 2020
The global smartphone market declined 4% YoY but grew 32% QoQ to reach 366 million units in Q3 2020, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service. This recovery was driven by all key markets, like the US, India and Latin America, returning slowly to normal due to eased lockdown conditions. The smartphone market has shown resilience to the ill effects of COVID-19 both from the supply and demand side.
Commenting on the overall market dynamics, Associate Director Tarun Pathak said, “Eased lockdown conditions in all key markets made way for exports and imports, thus streamlining the supply chain again. Also, the pent-up demand due to lockdowns helped the smartphone market take a recovery trajectory. The supply issues are getting resolved as the manufacturing units in China and Vietnam have started operating at their normal levels, while in India, they are operating at 80% of the pre-COVID levels. In markets like the US and Europe, a modest ‘back to school’ bump in the quarter helped the market to recover.”
Samsung regained the top spot, shipping 79.8 million units to register 47% QoQ and 2% YoY growth. This is the highest ever shipment by Samsung in the last three years. The company managed to recover in markets including India, Western Europe and LATAM, driven by new models like the Note 20 and from the A-series. A-series 5G SKUs showed solid uptake in the US. In India, Samsung surpassed Xiaomi to become the No. 1 player, driven by the success of the M Series. Huawei was the runner-up in the global market but showed a declining trend as its share dropped from 20% in Q2 2020 to 14% in Q3 2020. Rapid growth of realme continued during the quarter. It grew 132% QoQ in shipments volume, representing the strongest growth momentum among major global OEMs.
Xiaomi grew 75% QoQ to grab 13% share for the quarter. Notably, this was also the first time when Xiaomi surpassed Apple to capture the third spot. Research Analyst Abhilash Kumar said, “Xiaomi reached its highest-ever shipments at 46.2 million units in Q3 2020. In China, Xiaomi’s struggle for growth ended and shipments were up 28% YoY and 35% QoQ. This impressive show by Xiaomi in China was driven by a series of campaigns and promotions during the brand’s decennial celebrations in August. Also, in new markets like LATAM, Europe and the MEA, Xiaomi’s share expanded rapidly at the expense of Huawei amid US-China trade sanctions. The brand is also performing well in Southeast Asian markets like Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.”
Commenting on realme’s performance, Kumar said, “Accumulative shipments of realme smartphones reached over 50 million units in Q3; with this, it became the world’s fastest brand to hit 50 million shipments since inception, surpassing top players such as Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi. In Q3, realme grew to become one of the top 5, or even top 3, brands in its key markets, including India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines and some other Southeast Asian countries. Having released a strong 5G smartphone portfolio during Q3, realme also achieved a remarkable growth in the China market (90% QoQ in terms of sales volume). With its efforts to bring the affordable yet premium-like products to consumers, as well as its ability to offer smooth digital shopping and after-sales services in different countries, realme has emerged as the most resilient brand during and after the pandemic crisis. Additionally, we see realme’s expansion beyond smartphones into the IoT space. Products like smartwatches, TWS and smart TVs will further help the brand strengthen its position in the global market.”
Note: Huawei includes HONOR and Xiaomi includes Redmi
Talking about the 5G share, Research Analyst Aman Chaudhary said, “5G shipments continued to grow (82% QoQ). Interestingly, 5G shipments in Q3 exceeded the overall H1 2020 shipments. The growth was driven by 5G devices quickly proliferating into the sub-$300 price band, with offerings from Huawei, vivo, OPPO, Xiaomi and OnePlus. Affordable 5G devices will drive this segment, especially in China, in the coming quarters. Also, with the launch of the iPhone 12 series in Q4, Apple will be the key to driving 5G volumes in markets like the US, Canada and Western Europe.”
Other Key Takeaways:
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Some of our other regional smartphone market analysis for Q3 2020 can be found below:
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Spotify’s Q4 2019 results show podcast streaming jumped by 200%YoY, helping the company register healthy growth in monthly MAUs and premium subscribers. Notable points from its results:
Podcasts are enjoying good uptake across all platforms – especially Apple Podcast. Spotify had been a laggard but is now catching up and saw strong growth in Q4 2019. 16% of MAUs engage in podcast consumption on the platform. Spotify has more than 0.7 million podcast episodes available. To capitalize on global consumption trends, 26 global podcast shows were launched in Q4 2019. As claimed by the streaming giant, podcasts have helped the company lower the churn rate by 80 bps annually and 50 bps sequentially and therefore Spotify is continuously acquiring popular podcast brands.
2020 will continue to be an investment year for Spotify. The management has decided to invest in podcasts, and technologies to make the product even better. We expect Spotify will continue spending on promotional offers to attract more users. These investments have helped Spotify grow revenue 24% YoY but at the same time, there is a little compromise on the profit margins.
The one parameter where it continues to struggle is net profit. Despite double-digit growth in revenue, it made a loss of € 77 million (approx. USD 85 million). The major expense for the Swedish giant comes in the form of royalties to music labels, investment in the product and podcasts, and the unavoidable social costs which the company had to pay in the form of payroll taxes associated with stock-based compensation. Spotify can improve on this parameter by improving consistently on the gross profit margin with every passing quarter.
Music streaming has come a long way now. We believe this era to be the golden period for the music streaming industry the competition will likely drive innovations in the music streaming space in the years to come.
US music streaming accounts for 80% of the total US music industry, compared to just 5% ten years ago. Consequently, the competition is also getting fiercer. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google have entered and having sufficient cash in hand, are experimenting and innovating to create USPs for themselves. Amazon is trying lossless music. Apple Music is making technological improvements in the app like the introduction of night mode, curated playlists to target a group, etc. Similarly, YouTube Music has the advantage of its video service plus a huge Android installed base it can leverage. Regional players like Gaana in India, Anghami in MEA have a strong grip in their respective regions.
The important point to note here is that both the global and regional players are focusing on creating exclusive content by either launching their own channels or by acquiring podcast companies. Seeing the growing exclusive content opportunity, music streaming platforms are in the process to become the audio streaming platforms and podcasts will continue to feature strongly in 2020.
As our 2019Q3 numbers are being finalized we noticed one brand standing out in the global smartphone slowdown. Overall market size has been shrinking showing negative growth for 7 consecutive quarters. Most of the brands have also been experiencing negative growth. However there are a handful of brands like Xiaomi, Tecno showing positive growth. Among them there was one brand that really stood out. It was realme (spelled with all small cap). This rising brand was established on May 2018 so it’s just a year old. But it has become the fastest growing smartphone brand. It registered over 800% annual growth in Q3 2019. We think it shipped over 10 million smartphones and came in 7th place in the global smartphone market for the first time.
India and Indonesia are the most important markets for realme, contributing to more than 80% of its shipments. In India, realme ranked 4th in the smartphone market with 16% share, its highest market share ever, in Q3 2019. Its aggressive online channel strategy helped it achieve this milestone. It was the number one online brand on Flipkart in Q3 2019 and second in the overall online market.
In Indonesia, realme was the fastest brand to reach one million units in Q3 2019 driven by strong sales of realme C2 and realme 3. It is now looking to expand its position in other South East Asian(SEA) markets as well. The brand has expanded rapidly across more than 20 countries.
The core strength of the brand lies in its fast execution. realme has been quick to bring premium features to the budget segment and mass market. For instance, it was among the first few brands to bring features such as quad-cam, 64MP rear camera, water-drop design, pop-up selfie, within the $100-$250 price band. This has resonated well especially among young consumers seeking value for money.
Overall, strong word-of-mouth, social media campaigns and connecting with young consumers has helped the brand grow as well. When it comes to marketing it has focused more on events, such as college festivals, that involve one-to-one connection with its core customers. It has stayed away from big budget marketing events that involve huge marketing spends.
The strong performance of realme shows there still is growth in the market despite the several quarters of negative growth in the global smartphone market. Targeting the right geographical markets, channels and consumers seems to be the winning recipe. The value for money proposition is also powerful in times of stagnant economic growth globally.
Overall smartphone shipment declined 5% in Q1 2019, making it the sixth consecutive quarter of shipments falling.
New Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Buenos Aires – May 1st, 2019
Huawei’s share in the global smartphone market reached its highest ever level of 17% during Q1 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. The findings of the research reveal that Huawei overtook Apple as the second biggest smartphone brand in Q1 2019 as its volumes increased by nearly 50% year-on-year (YoY).
Commenting on the growth of Huawei, Research Analyst, Shobhit Srivastava, noted, “Huawei became the second largest smartphone brand by shipments without a significant presence in an important market like the United States. It was also the fastest growing brand among the top 10. At this pace, we expect Huawei to remain ahead of Apple at the end of 2019. What has helped Huawei is the pace of its innovations. It was the first to introduce features like reverse wireless charging, on-board AI, advanced camera, and more. A dual-brand (HONOR) strategy has helped Huawei build a connection to younger profile consumers and gain additional market share in a sluggish Chinese market. Huawei is now a match for Samsung in smartphone hardware. Like Samsung and Apple, Huawei also is becoming increasingly vertically integrated. We believe it is Huawei that Samsung should be worrying about rather than Apple.”
Overall, global smartphone shipments declined 5% YoY in Q1 2019. This is now the sixth consecutive quarter of shipments falling in the global smartphone market.
Commenting on the decline in the smartphone market, Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research said, “The global smartphone market showed no sign of recovery in Q1 2019. The rate of decline accelerated, particularly in February, due to inventory corrections by some brands and the production halt during Chinese New Year. Another reason for the decline is lengthening replacement cycles, especially in the premium segment. The replacement rate for iPhones is close to 36 months, while the replacement rate for premium Android devices is closing in on 30 months. This can be attributed to the higher quality of devices, increasing average selling prices (ASP), and the lack of innovation sufficient to motivate consumers to upgrade.”
Exhibit 1: Smartphone Shipment Market Share
On the moves being made by smartphone OEMs to address the falling sales, Pathak said, “Android smartphone OEMs are hoping to convert the 5G and foldable display buzz into sales in 2019. Premium features like punch hole cameras, full-screen displays, in-display fingerprint sensor, and on-board AI will continue to diffuse to the mid segment at a rapid rate, potentially stimulating volume growth. However, Apple has signalled that hardware is merely a vehicle for delivering an improving service experience.”
Exhibit 2: Global Smartphone Shipments Ranking and Market Share – Q1 2019
Source: Counterpoint Research: Quarterly Market Monitor Q1 2019
Amid the gloom, Chinese brands keep growing their shipment volumes. Commenting on the dynamics of the Chinese brands Srivastava said, “Chinese brands continue to defy gravity by expanding outside their home markets. Top Chinese brands are now following a dual-brand strategy to cover the maximum number of price bands and to appeal to different market segments. After entering South East Asia and India, leading Chinese OEMs are looking to expand in Europe, and develop their positions in higher price bands, increasing their ASPs. The shift in focus of Chinese OEMs is clearly visible as Europe becomes their place of choice to launch new flagship models.
*Lenovo includes Motorola
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