by Vlad Savov

Global smartphone shipments are headed for their worst year in more than a decade as prolonged economic uncertainties in China and beyond hurt consumer spending.

Shipments are expected to decline 6 percent year-on-year to 1.15 billion handsets in 2023 due to a poor Chinese economy battling deflation and depressed demand in the US, according to the latest estimate by Counterpoint Research.

“Asia remains one of the major barriers to positive growth, as headwinds block the anticipated economic turnaround for China,” the report said. In North America, “consumers are hesitating to upgrade their appliances, driving replacement rates to record highs in the US and globally.”

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However, Apple Inc. Apple is seen in a relatively good position to weather the downturn, as its iPhone is set for a significant upgrade cycle in the latter half of the year. While Xiaomi Corp. And while Chinese brands like Oppo have to compete for customers with every new device, Apple benefits from hundreds of millions of users who will only upgrade within its hardware ecosystem.

“So far this year there have been a record low number of upgrades across all carriers,” said Jeff Fieldhawk, Counterpoint research director for North America. “The iPhone 15 launch is a window for carriers to steal high-value customers. And with that large iPhone 12 installed base up front the promos are going to be aggressive, putting Apple in a good position.

first published: 17 August 2023 | 11:32 am First


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