US Smartphone Shipments Fall 24% YoY in Q2 2023 on Lower Upgrade Rates

  • Shipments declined YoY for the third consecutive quarter amid weak consumer demand.
  • Android smartphone shipments declined 38% while Apple shipments fell 6% YoY.
  • Consumers hesitated to purchase smartphones amid economic uncertainty.
  • Google and Motorola launched new foldable models during the quarter.
  • Low smartphone upgrade rates are likely to persist in Q3 2023.

Denver, Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – July 28, 2023

US smartphone shipments declined 24% YoY in Q2 2023, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor data. This was the third consecutive quarter of YoY declines. Android brands like Samsung, Motorola and TCL-Alcatel saw the steepest declines in shipments, while Apple’s shipments were more resilient. As a result, Apple’s share of shipments increased YoY.

US Smartphone Shipment Share by OEM

US smartphone shipments share by OEM

Commenting on the decline in smartphone shipments, Research Analyst Matthew Orf said, “Consumer demand for smartphones was tepid in Q2 2023, with the summer slump in sales coming early. Despite inflation numbers falling through the quarter and ongoing strength in the job market, consumers hesitated to upgrade their devices amid market uncertainty. We expect this trend to continue through Q3 2023, but the expectations from the upcoming iPhone 15 remain bullish.”

Despite the overall drop in shipments, certain segments of the US smartphone market saw important signs of life in the quarter. Senior Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne said, “In spite of declining smartphone shipments, the foldable market reached important milestones in the quarter. Motorola launched the Razr+, its first foldable device in the US since 2021, and Google launched its first-ever foldable, the Pixel Fold, providing alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy foldables. With new Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold devices coming from Samsung in Q3 2023, foldable shipments could reach their highest level ever in the US in Q3 2023.

Associate Research Director Hanish Bhatia noted, “Despite fewer shipments from Apple compared to the same quarter last year, the brand’s share of shipments was still up 10% YoY. Apple’s resilience was driven by strong promotions across postpaid and prepaid. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile continued to offer $800+ promo credits for the iPhone 14 while old-generation iPhones were also steeply discounted across prepaid. We are seeing no weakness in the overall promotional activity. In fact, we observed new highs for trade-in credit with Verizon offering up to $1,100 for the Pixel Fold. Google’s Pixel also grew from a small base and launched its old-generation Pixel 6a in the prepaid channel for the first time to compete with the iPhone 11. Both devices were heavily subsidized in prepaid channels.”

Director of North America Research Jeff Fieldhack said, “AT&T and T-Mobile reported positive net adds, but Verizon reported negative net adds within its consumer segment for the second consecutive quarter. The net-add activity remains comparable to last year, but the upgrade rates have been lower, causing overall weakness in demand. Near-record low churn has also had a dampening effect on new device sales. Weakness is likely to continue through the start of Q3 2023, but stronger iPhone 15 demand could offset weakness across Android.”


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) 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.

Analyst Contacts 

Matthew Orf

Maurice Klaehne

Hanish Bhatia

Jeff Fieldhack

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Samsung Galaxy S21 sales doubled in the US compared to its predecessor during first 6 weeks

Boston, Denver, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – April 1, 2021

 Initial US sales of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Series smartphone is showing strong outperformance of its predecessor, the Galaxy S20 Series. According to data from Counterpoint Research’s latest US Weekly Smartphone Sales Tracker, the Galaxy S21 Series outsold the S20 by a two-to-one margin during the first six weeks of launch.

Key to the success of this latest flagship has been its lower $799 starting price and strong support from US carriers. A COVID-19 hampered S20 Series launch last year also helped magnify S21 Series’ comparative performance.

Exhibit1: Comparison of 6 week sales of the Galaxy S20 and S21 in the US market

Source: Counterpoint Research US Weekly Smartphone Sales Tracker.

Product mix has also evolved, with Counterpoint’s US Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne noting, “There has been a significant change compared to last year in terms of the model mix, with one-third of S21 Series sales coming from the base model S21. Lower cost coupled with trade-in offers that essentially make the S21 device free, is helping increase demand for these ‘entry-level’ flagships.” He added, “Samsung also got the camera configuration on the base model right, giving it three on the rear to match up with the deluxe S21 Plus.”

Exhibit1: Model mix of the Galaxy S20 and S21 in the US market

Source: Counterpoint Research US Weekly Smartphone Sales Tracker.

 Counterpoint Research’s monthly consumer insights and retailer interviews revealed some interesting points regarding S21 Series sales.

  • Carrier reps have pointed to the aggressive promotions for the S21 that have helped drive sales for the device. T-Mobile and AT&T both offer an $800 credit with a new plan and an eligible trade-in (AT&T’s trade-ins remain most aggressive as the device only needs a $35 trade-in value to be eligible). Verizon has a $750 credit offer with trade-in and unlimited plan.
  • Customers say they like the improved contour-cut camera design which makes the cameras feel more flush compared to the protruding bump of the S20.
  • The plastic back has not been an issue for most customers, according to reps. In fact, some prefer it for giving the device a better grip.
  • Carrier reps also mention that the cameras, which have not changed much since last year, are still a strong upgrade for many consumers who are often coming from three-year-old or older Galaxy models.
  • No charging brick in the box was a mild annoyance to some consumers but not a deal breaker.
  • 5G and upload/download speeds are rarely discussed by users. However, as 5G networks continue to roll out, the S21 will get some good marketing as it is an early device which supports 5G carrier aggregation. This will be something especially marketed by T-Mobile as it is the first US carrier to support 5G carrier aggregation.

The Galaxy S21 Series accounted for almost half of overall sales for Samsung in February, but Mr. Klaehne expects this to decline in March and April. “By then, tax season will be in full swing and many Americans will have received their latest round of stimulus money – these two factors will help drive the prepaid market.” He added, “We expect prepaid sales of Samsung A-Series devices – especially the A01, A11 and A22 – to increase, taking share away from Samsung’s premium segment.”


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.

Analyst Contacts:

Charles Moon

US Smartphone Installed Base Sees Steady 2019 Growth, Strong Top-End Dominance

What was the most popular smartphone at the end of 2019? Apple iPhone 11? What about iPhone XR which was launched in 2018?

There are actually many ways to measure the most popular smartphones in the market. One way is to track the most sold or bestselling phone by unit sales but what about the phone currently used the most? For software companies understanding the smartphone model that is most used is more valuable information. If you want to develop software for the market you might as well develop for the device that has the largest user base. That’s when the concept of installed base becomes important.

The US smartphone installed base1 grew 7% YoY at the end of 2019. However full year smartphone sales declined 4% YoY.

Exhibit 1: US smartphone installed base

Counterpoint - US smartphone installed base

Source: Counterpoint Research

Exhibit 2: US smartphone unit sales
counterpoint - US smartphone unit sales

Source: Counterpoint Research

Apple continued to dominate the US installed base in 2019, accounting for 42% at end-2019, followed by a distant Samsung and LG. Slightly higher numbers were seen in 4Q19 unit sales, with Apple leveraging its annual September new release window and the holiday season to take just under half of all sales.

Exhibit 3: US smartphone installed base, market share by brandcounterpoint - US smartphone installed base, market share by brand

Source: Counterpoint Research

Exhibit 4: US smartphone unit sales, market share by brand

counterpoint - US smartphone unit sales, market share by brand

Source: Counterpoint Research

Apple took all top 10 spots for US smartphone installed base in 2019. The older model XR – launched in 2018 – came out on top with 7% share, supported throughout the year by various price cuts and promotions. It continued to be popular even after a year on the market, securing the number three spot in terms of sales in 4Q19. iPhone 11 captured the largest sales share of 16% quickly after its launch in 4Q19. iPhone 11 with enhanced hardware, dual rear cameras and high-performing processor, and low prices, cheaper than its predecessor XR, lead to an immediate success.

Exhibit 5: US smartphone top 10, installed base share

counterpoint - US smartphone top 10, installed base share

Source: Counterpoint Research

Exhibit 6: US smartphone top 10, unit sales share

counterpoint - US smartphone top 10, unit sales share

Source: Counterpoint Research


Last year we saw stable installed base growth with strong performance from a premium player. The trend is likely to be broken in 2020 with impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw YoY 1Q20 sales decline by double digits, and we expect further falls in the second quarter. This will not only hit installed base growth but could also skew it closer to the low-mid end. Apple, Samsung, and LG will all be negatively impacted, with, potentially, Apple to suffer most with respect to its top-end devices. Price sensitivity will play a bigger role in competitiveness, making price cuts and promotions even more important.

[1]Installed base is defined as the number of active devices in use at a certain point in time. Installed base, is meaningful data to game companies, app developers, and content providers. Installed base data provides them with a tool to analyze devices that their users are holding and helps them offer optimized and stabilized services for devices. Global streaming services and e-commerce market are expanding rapidly amid the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and demand for improved user experience is increasing. Accordingly, it calls for reliable analysis using installed base.

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