Apple’s Q3 iPhone shipments dropped 11%, but the overall market was down 19%

Counterpoint Research shows Apple shipped 11% fewer iPhones in the US in Q3 2023 compared to last year, even though its market share grew from 50% to 55% YoY. The main reason, according to the publication, is the later launch date of the iPhone 15 series compared to the iPhone 14 series, meaning we could see better results for Q4 2023.

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Last year, Apple started selling most of the iPhone 14 series on September 16, 2022 – the iPhone 15 started being sold on September 22, 2023. This week’s difference could be responsible for this shipment drop, mainly because Apple had a serious issue with manufacturing its previous phone models due to a COVID-19 outbreak and riots in its largest Chinese factory.

Besides Apple, most smartphone manufacturers saw a decline in US shipments this past quarter. Samsung, Google, and TCL saw steep declines of 26%, 37%, and 51%, respectively, in their smartphone shipments. Motorola, on the other hand, had a 31% shipment growth compared to last year.

iPhone shipment USImage source: Counterpoint Research

Commenting on the Q3 2023 performance, Research Analyst Matthew Orf said, “OEMs were cautious to increase their quarterly shipments as consumer demand remained low. While upgrade rates were slightly up at the carriers when compared to last quarter, they remained much below their usual levels as consumers opted to hold on to their devices for longer instead of upgrading. Improved durability with stronger build quality, less impressive upgrades among new smartphone releases, and an uncertain macroeconomic environment have all contributed to the malaise we are seeing in the US smartphone market.”  

That said, while BGR already covered that the iPhone 15 isn’t selling as much in China as previous models, the US remains a strong market for Apple. Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said that “despite the carriers continuing to offer strong promotions through the quarter, upgrade rates at the carriers remained near record lows. We expect a seasonal rebound in upgrade rates during the fourth quarter, but they are likely to remain lower than in the same period last year.”

The researcher says that while many iPhone 11 and 12 users are upgrading to the latest series, Counterpoint states “the usual high wait times for the iPhone 15s series at launch coming back down to earth “quicker than for the iPhone 14 series could signal that the slump in consumer smartphone demand will extend to the iPhone 15 in Q4 2023.” 

BGR will monitor the shipment results for Q4 2023 once Counterpoint reveals them.


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