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Apple had a difficult third quarter this year in the US. According to Counterpoint Research, the company saw a total of 11% drop in its smartphone sales in the said market.

The news seems normal, nonetheless, since the entire US smartphone market experienced a 19% YoY decline in the said period. Other brands also had decreases in their shipments, with TCL, Google, and Samsung having the steepest falls at 51%, 37%, and 26%, respectively. According to the research company, these falls were the effect of smartphone upgrade delays among Americans.

As for Apple, Counterpoint shared in the report that its low smartphone shipments could be attributed to the late launch date of the iPhone 15, leading some shipments volumes to be pushed to the fourth quarter. This, nonetheless, doesn’t make the situation anything better for Apple.

According to Counterpoint Research Director Jeff Fieldhack, iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 have a huge installed base, translating to a possible iPhone 15 upgrade this year. However, the director doubted this would be happening this year.

“…While we saw the usual high wait times for the iPhone 15 series at launch, they came back down to earth quicker than for the iPhone 14 series, which could signal that the slump in consumer smartphone demand will extend to the iPhone 15 in Q4 2023,” Fieldhack said.

On the other hand, Counterpoint shared that carriers were generally to blame for the shipment drops in the US, with the customers trying to hold on to their devices for longer. While Counterpoint said that the upgrade rate would improve in the next quarter through the “seasonal rebound,” it said that it wouldn’t still be lower compared to last year’s period.

If that comes out true and the carriers remain huge factors for the poor shipments until the next quarter, it would be a problematic situation for Apple. Carriers always play a big role in the sale of new units in the US, especially for Apple. According to a recent CIRP report, carriers account for 79% of iPhone sales, saying its influence is continuously growing as more customers return to carrier-based purchases after the pandemic. This means if smartphone sales via carrier deals continue to be weak in the next quarters, Apple iPhone sales will suffer a lot.

Making that worse is Counterpoint’s August report, claiming Apple could snatch the top spot for annual shipments globally for the first time ever. According to the firm, this would be possible through the aid of carriers, which would offer “aggressive” promos. Needless to say, with the poor performance of carrier companies for smartphone sales, this prediction sounds impossible to happen now.


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