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Smartphone Shipments Have Dropped 24%, Analysts Say

The second quarter saw a year-over-year decline in phones shipped in the US.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise Smartphones | Smartwatches | Tablets | Telecom industry | Mobile semiconductors | Mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
Lots of phones laid out flat.
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Smartphone shipments in the US in the second quarter of 2023 dropped by 24% compared with the same period last year, according to analyst firm Counterpoint Research.

Counterpoint's report, published Friday, said this is the third consecutive quarter of declining US phone shipments.

"Despite inflation numbers falling through the quarter and ongoing strength in the job market, consumers hesitated to upgrade their devices amid market uncertainty," Counterpoint Research Analyst Matthew Orf said in a press release, noting that he expects shipments to keep declining into the next quarter.

A bar graph showing phone market segment changes from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. Apple wins, as always.
Counterpoint Research

Manufacturers were affected to different extents, with makers of Android phones suffering the most: Samsung shipments dropped by 37%, Motorola shipments by 17% and TCL-Alcatel shipments by 69%. Apple's iPhone shipments declined by only 6%, which Counterpoint analysts credited to strong carrier promotions subsidizing costs for the brand's pricey phones -- though it also likely reflects how insulated premium phone sales have been from pandemic shipment shocks. Google's phone shipments increased by 48%, but given that it had only 2% of US phone sales in this period last year, it's a comparatively tame gain.

Despite lower overall phones shipped, that shakeup has led Apple to increase its domination of the US phone market to 55% from 45% in the same period last year. Meanwhile, Samsung dropped to 23% from 28%. Other phone-makers stayed at roughly the same level.

The phone industry has struggled over the last few years as the pandemic slowed demand and supply shortages interrupted availability. Though supply chains have recovered, it isn't totally clear how long it'll take for demand to resume pre-pandemic levels -- the International Data Corporation had predicted that the global phone industry would recover 6% year-over-year in 2024.

If you're looking to upgrade your phone this year, check out CNET's guidance on the best Android phone currently available, which iPhone is best for you, our first look at Samsung's new foldable phones and the best cellphone plans of 2023.

Read more: Best Foldable Phones in 2023: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold, Z Flip, Moto Razr