According to the International Data Corporation ’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the New Zealand smartphone market declined by 4.2% year-on-year (YoY) in 1Q23, shipping 336,000 units.
Consumer demand remained stagnant due to uncertainty surrounding the upcoming budget and the 2023 general elections. Consumers are also unnerved by the talk of recession, high inflation and increasing interest rates. The increasing cost of living is not helping the situation, with higher prices for housing, food and transport leaving less money in hand for household items and electronics.
Inventory remains high in the channels with the market entering a spell of unloading and adjustment. Vendors have begun consolidating their range of devices and continue to introduce upgraded model variants to entice consumers to refresh their devices and propel demand.
“The start of 2023 was as expected, with price and budget on the mind of consumers when purchasing electronics,” said Zachary Candy, Lead Analyst, Mobile Phones Research at IDC New Zealand. “A shift was seen towards more premium devices in 1Q23, with large shipments of Apple’s iPhone 14 series and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S23 series models helping to maintain a high average selling price (ASP) for the New Zealand smartphone market,” adds Candy.
Vendors are quietly optimistic as the market, although slow, has been boosted by new devices and high ASP premium models. Vendor share has been relatively consistent with previous quarters. Samsung took back the first spot, in line with seasonality, while HMD was bumped out of fifth place by TCL. Meanwhile OPPO, and the newly coined ‘One New Zealand’, formerly Vodafone New Zealand, have maintained their respective positions, although they both improved their share compared to 1Q22, performing particularly well in the low-end and mid-range price bands.
In the premium segment, the new Samsung Galaxy S23 Series performed extremely well, supported by significant trade-in-values offered by mobile phone carriers, as well as additional discounts for customers that signed up to 24- or 36-month interest free contracts. The Apple iPhone 14 series continued to be a popular device with consumers. A surprising new entrant, the ‘OPPO Find N2 Flip’, outperformed expectations, adding variety and competition to the foldable phone market.