Smartphone sales increased for first time in two years this October

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The past couple of years haven’t been kind to the smartphone industry. Economic uncertainties and other factors have affected sales globally. Quarterly shipments hit a decade-low in Q3 2023. However, a rebound may be on the cards now. According to market research firm Counterpoint, global smartphone sales grew five percent year-on-year (YoY) in October, the first YoY growth in more than two years.

Smartphone sales returned to growth in October after a two-year decline

Counterpoint’s study reveals that the global smartphone market last posted a YoY growth in shipments in June 2021. The growth was a result of increased demand as the industry recovered from an unprecedented slowdown a year earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the industry suffered from a component shortage in the second half of 2021 through to 2022.


The economic implications of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the US-China trade war, as well as longer replacement cycles, mean smartphone shipments dropped more than 15 percent YoY in June last year. The arrival of the iPhone 14 series helped the graph rebound in September 2022 but that wasn’t enough for a positive growth. The rebound was temporary too, as a 15 percent shipment decline was observed again at the end of last year.

The market continued to see a YoY decline in shipments for the first nine months of 2023 too. Finally, after a streak of 27 consecutive months of YoY declines, Counterpoint reported a shipment growth in October this year. The firm attributed this growth to higher demand in emerging markets such as the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Huawei’s comeback in China and festive season sales in India helped too.

Since developed markets have a higher smartphone saturation, growth is slower in those markets. Counterpoint adds that a delayed launch of the iPhone 15 series also contributed to the shipment growth last month. The latest iPhones debuted a week later than the 2022 lineup, so the full effect of their sales was felt in October. The research firm expects the strong show in October to result in a positive YoY growth in Q4 2023.

Samsung is launching the Galaxy S24 series early next year

While Apple released the iPhone 15 series a week late, Samsung is unveiling the Galaxy S24 series a couple of weeks earlier than the Galaxy S23. Rumors say the company will debut the new flagships on January 17, 2024, with sales beginning on January 30. The 2023 models were launched on February 1 and hit the market on February 17. If the devices see strong demand, the market may post a YoY growth in Q1 2024.

Counterpoint October 2023 smartphone market growth