iPhone 15: Global smartphone demand collapses as Apple aims to take top spot

New iPhone could see Apple take the top spot for the first time in its history

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 17 August 2023 14:39 BST
(The Independent)

Global smartphone shipments are set to fall to their lowest level in a decade this year, according to new research.

Preliminary figures from market research firm Counterpoint forecast a 6 per cent decline to 1.15 billion units in 2023, down from a peak of 1.57 billion shipments in 2017. The slump in shipments comes amid economic uncertainties that have seen demand drop significantly in the US and China.

Despite declining smartphone shipments, Apple may be in a good position to become the world’s number one brand for the first time ever, according to the figures, with Counterpoint observing both a premium and ultra-premium growth trend globally in 2023.

Apple is set to unveil its latest iPhone 15 in September, offering an opportunity to boost its market share.

“So far this year it’s been record low upgrades across all carriers,” said Jeff Fieldhack, a research director at Counterpoint Research.

“The iPhone 15 launch is a window for carriers to steal high-value customers. And with that big iPhone 12 installed base up for grabs, promos are going to be aggressive, leaving Apple in a good spot.”

Mr Fieldhack added: “It’s the closest Apple’s been to the top spot. We’re talking about a spread that’s literally a few days’ worth of sales. Assuming Apple doesn’t run into production problems like it did last year, it’s really a toss up at this point.”

High inflation and relatively modest upgrades across the smartphone sector mean consumers are “hesitant to upgrade their devices”, according to Counterpoint’s report.

Upgrades for Apple’s iPhone 15 range of phones are expected to be substantial, with new hardware features like a USB-C port, a multi-action button and periscope cameras.

The US smartphone giant is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone 15 on 12 September or 13 September, with the devices going on sale on 22 September.

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