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LATAM smartphone shipments fall 9.9% YoY in Q1 2023

LATAM smartphone shipments declined 9.9% YoY in Q1 2023 on weak consumer demand, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor service. After a bleak Q4 of 2022, things did not turn around during the first quarter of 2023. Traditionally, Q1 is one of the slowest quarter of the year as the southern hemisphere’s summer recess falls in this quarter. The shipments usually start picking up in March in preparation for the Mother’s Day sales season in May. However, this year’s weak demand affected these shipments.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Principal Analyst Tina Lu said, “High inflation, low economic growth, and some social unrest that continued from 2022 impacted consumer confidence in the region. 5G smartphones failed to attract consumers in big numbers to accelerate the rate of replacement. But still, the region’s 5G smartphone portfolio increased by more than 21% even as the share of 5G smartphones improved only a few points since December. It is still not clear whether the LATAM consumer wants a 5G smartphone or buys it as it is the best option available.”

Top Smartphone OEMs’ Market Share in Latin America, Q1 2023 vs Q1 2022

LATAM smartphone shipments- Q1 2023

Commenting on the performance of OEMs in the region, Research Analyst Andres Silva said, “While the smartphone market continued to decline, most leading brands managed to increase their share and even volume. With leading brands having better product availability and deeper pockets to run promotions, the smaller brands were pushed to an all-time low. However, the overall inventory situation continued to improve.”

Market Summary

  • Samsung’s volume and share in the region dropped YoY, impacted by the general market decline. However, the brand’s share improved QoQ. During Q1 2022, Samsung started an aggressive volume shipments that continued till Q2 and resulted in high inventories that lasted until the end of 2022, impacting the brand’s shipments during H2 2022. This year, Samsung was more cautious and did not build that massive amount of inventory.
  • The launch of refreshed A series allowed Samsung to remain as the region’s absolute leader with a 41.7% share, more than double the closest competitor’s.
  • The launch of the S23 series allowed Samsung to remain the value leader in the region. Samsung conducted an aggressive promotional campaign for the launch of the S23 series, and it was rewarded with better performance than last year’s S22 series. Brazil, Mexico, and
  • Argentina were the markets driving this growth.
  • Xiaomi also gained volume and share. Its growth was driven by the launch of the A2 model in February and the Note 12 model in April (shipments of the model started in March). The brand also managed to partially resolve the issues being faced by it in Mexico.
  • Xiaomi is trying to push its premium models, but the response from end users has been lukewarm so far.
  • Apple’s volume and share also increased YoY. The iPhone 11, a 4G model, drove its growth in the region.
  • Apple has been aggressively driving sales by offering a memory upgrade in the iPhone 14 and some subsidies for many of its products.
  • OPPO continued to grow, with its share more than doubling YoY. Its volume grew 88% YoY, the highest growth among leading brands in the region. Entering the region three years ago, OPPO has already consolidated its position among the top three in Mexico. It is now aiming to grow its share in Colombia and Peru.
  • OPPO is also set to increase its share in the premium segment by launching the Find N2 Flip in the region. It is the third OEM to launch a flip model in the region.
  • ZTE’s volume continued its decline from 2022. It is one of the brands affected by the regional decline.
  • The smaller and regional brands’ volumes continued to decrease. They have been squeezed by the big brands’ deep pockets and new entrants.

CT Bureau

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