The beginning of 2020 was quite challenging for the smartphone market after the COVID-19 outbreak, which resulted in lockdowns across several countries. However, things eased in the second half with pent-up demand driving smartphone sales. The momentum continued through Q1 2021, with the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 series doing well in the premium segment. Even the telecom operators offered great deals and trade-in offers that helped in ensuring better sales.
Prices of prepaid 5G smartphones in the US have come down in just under two years. With promotional offers from operators, we are even seeing these devices available under $150. So, operators are going all out with their marketing budget to push sales. Talking about this mid-range segment, LG has announced its formal exit from the smartphone market, which will leave a void to be filled in. It creates an opportunity for other smartphone makers such as Samsung, Motorola, Alcatel and TCL to increase their share.
In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Maurice Klaehne is joined by Research Director Jeff Fieldhack to talk about the US smartphone market, refurb channel, smartphone spec upgrades and more. The discussion highlights how the smartphone market is recovering after the COVID-19 impact, and touches upon the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage and its implications. Jeff also offers insights on how the prepaid and postpaid channels are performing, how 5G mobile broadband and home broadband are shaping up to ease work-from-home, and much more.
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You can read the podcast transcript here.
Podcast Chapter Markers
2:10 – What are the key drivers for the US smartphone market?
6:20 – What is the demand like in mid-tier and budget devices, especially with operator promos and tax season coming up?
9:45 – What is the lowest price you’ve seen for 5G smartphones including promotions and discounts?
11:38 – First Huawei sanctions, now LG exiting the smartphone market. Who do you think will fill in that void that is left?
16:24 – How did the refurb market perform in 2020, and does the ongoing chip shortage create an opportunity for the refurb devices?
18:19 – What are the key smartphone specs upgrades and trends that you are seeing in the market?
22:33 – How is 5G shaping up in the US, and can you talk a little bit about what operators are doing?