Apple May Not Be Able to Save A Record-Low Year in Smartphone Sales




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group looking at phones

It’s not looking good for worldwide smartphone sales this year, with consumers seemingly less eager to pick up a new device.

Global smartphone shipments are expected to drop 6% this year, the lowest since 2013, according to a report from Counterpoint Research. Data points to China and North America’s economic obstacles, but ultimately it comes down to the consumer.

The weaker figures highlight the fact that people aren’t upgrading their phones as frequently as they used to, and that enthusiasm has waned for new devices. With smartphones from the last few years packing powerful cameras, better batteries and faster processors — not to mention a higher price tag — it’s harder to justify getting a new phone every year or two.

According to Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director for North America, 2023 has seen a record low for upgrades across all mobile carriers. Apple, thanks to its premium and ultra-premium offerings, might eke out ahead of its competitors.

“[W]e’re watching Q4 with interest because the iPhone 15 launch is a window for carriers to steal high-value customers,” Fieldhack said in the report. “And with that big iPhone 12 installed base up for grabs promos are going to be aggressive, leaving Apple in a good spot.”

Apple’s 2023 success also hinges on a smoother production process than it saw in 2022. In addition, inflation continues to inject an element of uncertainty for consumers, with prices rising on things like streaming services. This puts companies under pressure to make their service or product shine in a time when belts are tightening across the board.

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