Q2 2021: US Smartphone Market Grows 27% YoY in H1 2021 Despite Shortages; OnePlus, Motorola, Nokia HMD Gain as LG Exits

Denver, Boston, Toronto, Denver, London, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – July 27, 2021

 The US smartphone market saw a 27% YoY increase in H1 2021 sales as carriers continued pushing 5G upgrades and heavily discounted 5G smartphones. Both Apple and Samsung devices were the top-sellers in the premium segment with 53% and 17% YoY growth, respectively. OnePlus, Motorola and Nokia HMD saw strong growth in the market by capturing the void left by LG’s exit from the smartphone business.

Counterpoint Research US Smartphone Market H1 2021
Source: North America Online-Offline Channel Share Tracker Q2 2021

US Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “So far, 2021 has been a challenging year for OEMs. There was a consolidation of the market with LG and VinSmart’s exit, increased demand from carriers for more affordable 5G smartphones, and manufacturing constraints due to the global component shortage. This created a big opportunity for OEMs looking to expand market share. So far, we have seen OEMs such as OnePlus, Motorola and Nokia HMD successfully capturing this momentum. Supply for many Android OEMs has been tight, especially for the sub-$600 devices. We believe Samsung could have done even better if it had the inventory to satisfy the demand. The A32 5G was a big hit in T-Mobile’s ‘5G for All’ campaign. Because of supply problems or by design, T-Mobile has changed the high-volume 5G switcher device to the OnePlus N200. This device is one of the most affordable 5G devices in the market at the moment. These large volumes are helping OnePlus grow its installed base and become an early winner in filling the void left by LG.”

Senior Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne added, “OnePlus became the fastest growing OEM in H1 2021 with a growth of 428% YoY. With the introduction of the N100 and N10 5G in January, OnePlus quickly gained market share in Metro by T-Mobile. Besides, it continues to push its premium device presence at T-Mobile with the latest OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. OnePlus further expanded its presence in Q2 due to LG’s exit from the smartphone market while the N100 has been one of the top selling smartphones within Metro for months.”

Commenting on the US H2 2021 and 2022 market outlook, Fieldhack said, “We are seeing several demand drivers for smartphones. If Verizon’s purchase of Tracfone goes through, millions of subscribers will need to be migrated from T-Mobile and AT&T to Verizon’s network, which needs a large number of affordable devices. In addition, the Verizon CDMA shutoff date is set for December 2022, and this time it is for real. While it may seem like a long way off, it takes a lot of time to migrate millions of subscribers. Lastly, T-Mobile is shutting down Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by January 1, 2022. This means millions of T-Mobile subscribers need to have new devices. DISH will have to also move millions of CDMA subscribers over to its new MVNO partner, AT&T.”

Commenting on inventory levels, Senior Analyst Hanish Bhatia said, “The current global component shortage has tightened the inventory situation in the US market. However, it seems that global OEMs are prioritizing the US market over other regions. Samsung has shifted its focus to premium devices over the mid-range A series on the supply side. Apple’s supply chain remains the most resilient. It had a relatively healthy inventory in much of the first half of 2021. Component shortages are resulting in OEMs falling short in meeting carrier demands for specific smartphone models, while also forcing some to prioritize certain models over others. If this continues, it may put a big constraint on the supply side in H2 2021.”

Analyst Contacts:

Maurice Klaehne

Jeff Fieldhack

Hanish Bhatia

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