In the fast-paced world of technology, where change is the only constant, the North American smartphone market recently encountered a stormy quarter like no other. Q2 2023 unfolded as a tempestuous episode, marking what Canalys aptly dubs the “worst quarterly performance in over a decade.”
With a harrowing 22 percent year-over-year drop in sales, the outlook is cloudy, and the industry braces for a gloomy overall prediction of a 12 percent market contraction by the year’s end.
Amidst the relentless headwinds, Apple remains a formidable figure, even though it saw a 20 percent dip in Q2. Apple’s fortitude is evident in its 54 percent market share, maintaining its pole position. Meanwhile, Samsung, a stalwart in the smartphone arena, weathered a 27 percent decline, yet still secured a 24 percent market share in Q2 2023.
Motorola, another seasoned player, followed suit with a 25 percent slide, holding a modest 8 percent market share. An unexpected casualty was TCL, primarily known for televisions, as it faced a daunting 30 percent setback, clutching just a 5 percent market share.
In a surprising twist, Google emerged as the lone survivor in this turbulent quarter. Despite its lower position in the smartphone hierarchy, Google posted an impressive 59 percent surge in Pixel phone sales, carving out a 4 percent market share. This upward trajectory mirrors Google’s performance from the previous year when it leaped from a 1 to 2 percent market share. With continued momentum, Google could ascend to fourth place in the coming quarters.
The most substantial market decline was witnessed in the “others” category, registering a staggering 43 percent freefall. This decline is likely emblematic of the ongoing consolidation within the Android market, impacting brands such as OnePlus, HMD/Nokia, and budget-oriented vendors like Blu. Canalys attributes this to the diminishing demand for prepaid smartphones, signaling a shift towards premium devices. The rising average sell price, surging from $663 to $738 year-over-year, underscores this trend, with premium smartphones driving sales growth. Notably, both Apple and Samsung experienced a robust 25 and 23 percent growth, respectively, in their premium segment shipments during Q2 2023, despite the broader market turbulence.
While the years 2022 and 2023 have posed formidable challenges for smartphone sales, with a 9 percent decline in 2022 and a projected 12 percent decrease in 2023, Canalys holds a glimmer of optimism. The forecast anticipates a modest market recovery in 2024, projecting a 3 percent increase.
As we navigate the tempestuous seas of the smartphone industry, the hope of calmer waters on the horizon keeps the industry’s ship steady in the face of uncertainty.