First quarter U.S. smartphone sales declined 11% YOY, Apple iPhone sales grew a record 16% YOY

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse program, the US market sold-through 38.7m smartphones during the first quarter of 2018. This is a 11% decrease from Q1 2017 when sales were 43.7 million smartphones. Sales had not dropped below 40 million for the last 3 years.

Commenting on the quarter, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said in a statement, “Dips in sales coming off a holiday period are to be expected, however there are several other factors that make this the weakest Q1 in recent years. For one, postpaid device promotions were not as enticing in the first quarter—most requiring a new line. In addition, prepaid did not receive its usual February and Q1 bump as prepaid service promos cooled. The ramp-down of government subsidized ‘Lifeline’ programs have cut into prepaid device volumes. BYOD and refurbished devices also continue to impact new device sales.”

2015-2018 smartphone OEM MoM Growth % - Counterpoint research

• Apple growth percentage is declining during launch periods. However, it has gained overall US market share because of its increasing installed base and B2B and prepaid channel improvements.
• Samsung growth curve is slipping. There is increased difficulty maintaining momentum through product lifecycles.
• During periods of prepaid weakness, ‘others’ performance declines. Others saw a drastic dip during the first quarter.
• The overall US market growth is on a downward slope outside of Apple launch periods.

Q118: US smartphone sell-through market share -  Counterpoint Research

Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne said in a statement, “Apple shipped a record 16 million iPhones for the first time ever in a Q1 in the US. This is a 16% YoY increase, with the OEM showing continued success in taking share away from Samsung in the premium market space. It now commands 80% of the +$800 price band. Samsung’s sales declined 4% YoY which indicate weaker sell-through of their premium Galaxy models. Overall, Apple’s super-premium segment ($800 and above) accounted for 20% of US total sales during Q1. Samsung contributed 8%. The $800 and above price segment grew to 28%, an additional 3% share, over what we reported during Q4 2017. Google Pixel 2 models are solid sellers when on promo within Verizon. Sales dip considerably when off promo. Volumes would be much higher if the Pixel was offered within carrier retail channels outside of Verizon.”

US Top 10 smartphone rank Q118 - Counterpoint Research

Commenting on the top sellers of Q1 2018, Fieldhack noted, “Overall we see Apple’s continued dominance in the top sellers for Q1 as the X and 8 series hold the top spots with the older Galaxy devices not far behind. S9 pre-sales were sluggish compared to S8 sales last year but will probably pick up sales momentum in the following months as carriers are offering good trade-in deals. Motorola has been doing well with the E4 due to its low cost and solid specs for the price point—very dependable within prepaid and national retail channels.”

Source: Counterpoint Technology Market Research

MacDailyNews Take: iPhone’s dominance is increasing!

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