The smartphone market in the US grew 27 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2021, with OnePlus emerging as the fastest growing vendor following Motorola and Apple, according to a market research firm. The growth mainly came on carriers pushing 5G upgrades as well as heavily discounts given on 5G phones. The exit of LG from the market is also believed to have helped vendors including OnePlus, Motorola, and Nokia brand licensee HMD Global garner strong growth. However, the ongoing component shortage is expected to impact inventories and shipments in the US market — similar to its global counterparts.
Research firm Counterpoint has released a report to detail the growth of the US smartphone market in H1 2021. The report highlighted the year-over-year growth in the market despite global component shortages and stated that both Apple and Samsung continued to be the top sellers in the premium segment. While Apple grew 53 percent year-over-year, Samsung marked a 17 percent growth in the first half.
However, on the part of the fastest growing vendor, OnePlus came on top with a whopping 428 percent year-over-year growth recorded during the period, according to the firm.
“With the introduction of the N100 and N10 5G in January, OnePlus quickly gained market share in Metro by T-Mobile,” said Maurice Klaehne, Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint. “Besides, it continues to push its premium device presence at T-Mobile with the latest OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.”
OnePlus was also amongst the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who were able to leverage LG’s exit to expand their market share in the US.
Counterpoint noted that despite the overall growth in the market, supply for Android vendors has so far been constrained.
“The current global component shortage has tightened the inventory situation in the US market. However, it seems that global OEMs are prioritising the US market over other regions,” said Counterpoint Senior Analyst Hanish Bhatia.
He added by saying that component shortages were resulting in manufacturers in the US falling short in meeting carrier demands for specific smartphone models and forcing them to prioritise certain models over others. The analyst noted that Samsung became one such vendor, and it had shifted its focus to premium devices over the mid-range Galaxy A series on the supply side.
“If this continues, it may put a big constraint on the supply side in H2 2021,” he continued.
The market of smartphones in the US is, however, predicted to continue its growth momentum in the future. Counterpoint analysts believe that there are several demand drivers for smartphones in the country.
“If Verizon’s purchase of Tracfone goes through, millions of subscribers will need to be migrated from T-Mobile and AT&T to Verizon’s network, which needs a large number of affordable devices,” said Counterpoint US Research Director Jeff Fieldhack.
He added that in addition to the Tracfone acquisition, the Verizon CDMA is shutting down in December 2022 and T-Mobile is closing Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by January 1, 2022. DISH is also said to move millions of its CDMA subscribers over to AT&T — its new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partner.
All this is expected to help push the demand for new smartphones in the US market for some time.