With people hanging on to their smartphones a lot longer, the overall handset market is in decline. But still seeing growth is the premium segment, which is dominated by Apple.
The premium segmented, defined as a phone that costs $600 or more, is expected to grow by 6% in 2023, according to Counterpoint Research, which based its analysis off of the preliminary numbers from the fourth quarter. The most interesting aspect is that while Apple continues to dominate the market, it lost a bit of ground to Samsung Electronics and Huawai, which have aggressively pushed more expensive foldable phones.
Apple’s share of the premium smartphone market was 71%, down from 75% a year ago, according to Counterpoint. Samsung, meanwhile, picked up a percentage point of market share, while Huawei added 2 percentage points.
The data shows that while overall enthusiasm for phones is muted, people are still snapping up more expensive phones, with Samsung seeing particular growth in the foldable category. The large displays, which can fold out to be bigger, are more attractive given how much video people consume on their mobile devices. It’s also an attractive “second screen” for people who like to multitask while watching the big-screen television.
“There has been a shift in consumer buying patterns in the smartphone market,” said Counterpoint analyst Varun Mishra. “Considering the importance a smartphone holds, consumers are willing to spend more to get a high-quality device that they can use for a longer period.”
Samsung has an Unpacked event scheduled for later this month, where it’s expected to unveil the successor to its Galaxy S23.
Counterpoint noted that within the premium segment, the real growth has been with phones that are priced at $1,000 or above. Beyond the foldables, that’s largely in the wheelhouse of Apple and its iPhone 15 Pro lineup.