Wednesday, 27 March 2019 06:01

US smartphone market drifts down for 14th straight month

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US smartphone market drifts down for 14th straight month Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

Smartphone sell-through in the US fell for the 14th consecutive month in January, with a 2.7% fall year-on-year, the analyst firm Counterpoint Research says, adding that this was the second consecutive year when sales decreased in the first month of the year.

The firm said there was a 12% drop in January 2018 compared to the corresponding month a year prior.

Counterpoint research director Jeff Fieldhack said there were a few reasons for the downward trend.

"First, there were no flagship stockouts exiting 2018. There were near normal premium device channel inventories," he said.

"On the pre-paid side, the US Government shutdown delayed the potential early tax season bump in sales. Pre-paid and national retail tax season promotions were pushed from late January to mid-February. However, early indications suggest the pre-paid bump was small in 2019.”

In other OEM news during January, Apple gained 1% in US market share with the sales mix shifting to the iPhone XR, with the display and lower price being driving factors.

Other notable developments:

  • Samsung’s Note 9 was the top-selling Android smartphone, but despite a continued strong showing by the Galaxy S9, Samsung lost some share as many consumers wait for the S10.
  • LG gained share with decent V40 sales. However, most of the gains were because of LG devices were selling well within pre-paid — such as the LG Stylo 4.
  • Motorola was hurt by the continued weakness within pre-paid. The E5 variants remain the company’s top-sellers and remain very successful within Boost, Metro and Cricket.
  • ZTE volumes are still a small fraction of what they were before the US sanctions. But the company launched a new device within Verizon pre-paid channels, the ZTE Visible R2. More carrier launches are expected in 2H2019.
  • The top-selling premium price tier devices (above US$600) continued to be Apple and Samsung. The Google Pixel 3 was a distant third.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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