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Global Smartphone Shipments Expected to Decline in 2023, but Foldables See Rising Demand

Published: 12.2.2023

The global smartphone market is expected to experience a slight downturn in 2023, with shipments projected to fall 5% year-over-year to 1.2 billion units, according to Counterpoint Research. This decline marks the lowest shipment volume in nearly a decade, reflecting ongoing economic uncertainties and market saturation.

Despite the overall market slowdown, there are signs of resilience in certain regions and segments. South Africa, for instance, witnessed a remarkable surge in smartphone shipments in Q3 2023, with a 73% year-over-year and 44% quarter-over-quarter increase. This growth is attributed to factors such as expanding 5G networks and rising consumer demand for affordable devices.

Another notable trend is the growing interest in foldable smartphones, particularly among high-end consumers in China. A recent survey revealed that 64% of Chinese smartphone users with high-end devices are willing to consider a foldable phone for their next purchase. This enthusiasm stems from the unique capabilities and innovative form factor of foldable devices, which offer enhanced functionality and multitasking capabilities.

The projected increase in smartphone shipments in Q4 2023 further indicates signs of recovery in the market. However, the overall outlook for 2023 remains cautious, with smartphone vendors facing challenges such as supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures.

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