Global Smartphone Shipments to Decline by 5.3% YoY in 2023, Growth in Emerging Markets – India, China

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China and emerging markets like the Middle East, Africa, and India are anticipated to drive growth from Q4 2023.

Despite a 3% increase forecasted for Q4 2023, global smartphone shipments are expected to see a 5.3% year-over-year (YoY) decline in 2023, dropping to 1.16 billion units, according to Counterpoint forecast. This is the lowest the global shipments have been in nearly a decade. The decline is attributed to macroeconomic winds and consumer weakness pressure on the sector across the year.

The shipments in North America and Europe are predicted to stay constant, showing no significant growth or decline. Conversely, China and emerging markets, including the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and India, are expected to rebound from their previous downturns. Starting from the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023, these regions are predicted to become the new driving forces for growth in the global smartphone market.

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Apple, which typically leads in Q4, might see a 3% decline in Q4 2023, primarily due to Huawei’s expansion in China and delayed upgrades in Japan. Apple’s growth may align with the market but faces challenges in its core markets. High US interest rates impacting consumer spending and fierce competition in China’s premium market could affect Apple’s performance in 2024.

Apple aims to compensate for its lower volume sales by enhancing the value through a more premium product mix. For instance, in the fourth quarter of 2022, the iPhone 14 Pro models constituted 61% of the total iPhone 14 series shipments. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of 2023, it’s expected that the iPhone 15 Pro models will make up an even larger share of the iPhone 15 series, increasing to 65%. India is seen as a new growth area for Apple, with a projected 23% increase in shipments in 2024. 

Huawei experienced significant success in the third quarter of 2023, largely due to the launch of its Mate 60 5G series and the continued popularity of its older P-series 4G devices. If Huawei manages to increase the production of its Kirin system on chips (SoCs) through various partnerships, the company is anticipated to achieve a substantial 37% year-over-year growth in 2024.

After destocking and ending up with a good amount of inventory by the end of the year, it’s expected that smartphone shipments will increase by 3% in 2024 compared to the previous year. This growth is likely to be driven by emerging markets, thanks to people feeling more confident about spending and general economic conditions getting better.

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