US Smartphone Recovery Continues in July; Key Entry Devices are Launched

The US market continues to see sell-through volumes recover after the tremendous slow down seen in April and May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The US market sold through through 11.5 million smartphones in the month of July. This is a 2% month-over-month and an 8% year-over-year expansion. The strong comeback was due to some pent-up sales from lockdowns. Also, July is usually a month of vacations and less store traffic. With COVID-19 still affecting travel, many people stayed home. Smartphones have proven to be even more valuable during the pandemic.

Some key takeaways during July include:

  • There were limited market share changes in July. LG was an exception. It was helped by a couple of key launches in July — LG Velvet 5G and LG Aristo 5.
  • T-Mobile and AT&T have aggressively rolled out low-band 5G — both now have over 200 million POPs (T-Mobile over 250 million POPs). US carriers want 5G in place in as many metros as possible prior to Apple’s 5G launches.
  • Verizon is looking to reduce the inventory of iPhone Pro and Pro Max prior to the new generation of iPhones in October — $850 credit with trade-in for new subscribers or $350 for upgraders. Such new upgrade promos have not been seen over the past 18 months. Look for Q4 to be a very big upgrade quarter — potentially back to above 7% of the base.
  • Online sales have moderated from its high of 33% of sales in April. Many channels have streamlined and improved online purchasing experience, however, with stores re-opening sales have been shifting back towards offline channels.
  • Apple has successfully sustained momentum with volumes driven by the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE despite the growing anticipation of its Fall launches. Most of our July checks show the general public replaces their iOS device if a replacement is needed. It is not until late August or September until consumers actively hold off a purchase anticipating the new generation of iPhones or cost erosion of legacy iPhones.

For complete details of July and insights of 3Q2020 sales, see