In the third quarter of 2023, the U.S. smartphone market experienced a 5% year-on-year drop, registering 31 million units, according to a report by Canalys. Despite the overall decline, the market saw a 21% month-on-month increase attributed to the latest Apple iPhone 15 series.
Apple and Samsung Lead U.S. Shipments
Canalys data revealed Apple and Samsung as the top contenders in shipments, collectively accounting for 77% of the market. Apple maintained its top spot with 17.2 million units shipped, marking a marginal 8% decrease. Samsung, on the other hand, rebounded from the second quarter, reaching 6.8 million units. Notably, Samsung’s new foldable mobile phones claimed over 20% of its shipments.
Motorola, which secured the third seat among the top five, showcased its best quarterly performance since Q2 2022, securing a 9% market share and achieving a 14% year-on-year growth in shipments. TCL and Google Pixel secured spots in the top five, each gaining a 4% market share with shipments of 1.3 million and 1.2 million units, respectively.
iPhone 15 Series Performed Outstandingly
According to Canalys data, the iPhone 15 series performed outstandingly in September 2023, accounting for 34% of all U.S. iPhone sales. Despite the allure of annual iPhone updates, the report notes a shift in consumer behavior, with a growing preference for older models, refurbished devices, or extending the replacement cycle. The performance of Apple in the U.S. market is anticipated to influence the company’s global strategy and ambitions.
However, Canalys anticipates a moderate recovery in the market in 2024 as the U.S. smartphone market stabilizes. The adjustments made by operators in 2023 might trigger a dramatic change in the market channel pattern, prompting manufacturers to prepare for potential shifts in consumer preferences and market dynamics.
“Although the U.S. market is stabilizing and is expected to see marginal improvement in the fourth quarter, it is still difficult to usher in a positive upward trend. The wireless communications industry has been in a long-term downturn, affecting equipment promotions and subsidies.
Although front-line operators performed strongly in terms of postpaid subscriber net additions and upgrade rates, device sales were still lower than last year. Operators are focusing on driving service revenue through flexible plans and customer retention measures. They are still optimistic about the third quarter. Caution is urged as this phenomenon will continue into the fourth quarter and the holiday season,” said Runar Bjørhovde, Canalys analyst.