US Online Market Sell-Through Rises to 12.4% of Overall Sales in Q4 2018

US Online Market Sell-Through Rises to 12.4% of Overall Sales in Q4 2018

Online sales remained strong despite a decline in overall sell-through in the United States by 10% year-on-year. The holiday season in Q4 2018 helped boost online sales.

   San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul

March 5, 2019

The share of smartphone sales in the United States through online channels grew to 12.4% of total sales in the country during Q4 2018. The share of online sales grew despite a decline in the overall US smartphone sell-through by 10% year-on-year during the quarter, the latest data from Counterpoint Research’s US Smartphone Channel Share Tracker Q4 2018 shows.

According to our research, the growth in sales through online channels was aided by the holiday season as consumers sought out and took advantage of holiday deals.


Source: Counterpoint Research – Smartphone Channel Share Tracker Q4 2018


Speaking about the competitive landscape, Maurice Klaehne, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research said, “Once again takes the highest share of online sales followed by Verizon, with T-Mobile not far behind. Amazon has made a successful business in selling Prime Exclusive phones as well as sub-US$250 unlocked devices. On the carrier side, brick and mortar stores were feeling the pressure from online shoppers. Shoppers are ordering devices online that might not be stocked in retail outlets and are either getting them delivered to a store or even to their own house.”

While Amazon has had a lot of success so far in selling smartphones online, in 2019 we expect Walmart to gain online share above its current 5%. Walmart has been increasing its focus on e-commerce and online shopping. After acquiring in 2016, the company acquired India’s top e-commerce portal Flipkart in 2018. Traditionally, Flipkart has been a strong player in the mobile phone and smartphone category. Walmart is expected to benefit and learn from the best-practices of Flipkart which will reflect in its performance in 2019.

Elaborating on the online landscape in Q4 2018, Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director at Counterpoint Research added, “T-Mobile had a 10% overall market share in online sales. One of the drivers of its performance was the OnePlus 6T device launched in November. The phone alone took a 2.4% share of the total smartphone unit sales for the carrier. However, looking more closely, the phone is doing better in online sales as compared offline. It has 6.3% of the total online sales for T-Mobile. ”

This is an excerpt from our smartphone channel share tracker service across different geographies providing highly detailed insights and analysis – answering the why, backed by a solid granular sales database mapped across different channels – offline and online.