While the smartphone market is falling, sales of models starting at $600 continue to grow

According to data from Counterpoint Research’s Market Pulse service, sales of premium smartphones (over $600) grew by 6% in 2023, reaching a new record. This contrasts with the projected decline in the global smartphone market this year. The premium segment will account for almost a quarter of the global smartphone market and 60% of manufacturers’ revenues in 2023. Over the past few years, the premium segment has become a growth area in an otherwise weak market.

“Commenting on the premium market’s growth, Senior Analyst Varun Mishra said, “There has been a shift in consumer buying patterns in the smartphone market. Considering the importance a smartphone holds, consumers are willing to spend more to get a high-quality device that they can use for a longer period. Owning the latest and greatest flagships has also become a status symbol for many consumers, especially in emerging markets where they are jumping directly from the mid-price band to the premium band. Further, these devices are increasingly becoming more affordable due to promotion seasons and financing options.”

Apple continues to be the undisputed leader of the premium market. However, compared to 2022, its share has decreased this year. This is mainly due to the resurgence of Huawei in China with the Mate 60 series. Samsung also increased its share with the S23 and Fold series.

Regionally, China, Western Europe, India, and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions will account for a significant portion of the global premium market growth in 2023. In fact, China, India, MEA and Latin America are likely to see new record sales in the premium market, with India being the fastest growing premium market in the world.

In the premium market, the ultra-premium segment is driving growth. The price segment of $1,000 and above captured more than a third of total premium market sales in 2023.

Overall, the premium segment is likely to continue to outpace the global smartphone market. Manufacturers that can differentiate themselves and, more importantly, build a strong brand will benefit from its growth.