Global smartphone market returns to solid growth

Q1 smartphone shipment estimates from Omdia and Counterpoint both register a significant uptick in the market, affirming previous estimates.

Scott Bicheno

May 3, 2024

2 Min Read

Counterpoint reckons global smartphone shipments increased by 6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024. But Omdia thinks this is a significant under-estimation, and that the growth rate was double that. IDC’s early estimate a few weeks ago put growth pretty much in the middle of these two.

It should be stressed that no analyst firm has the capacity to know exactly how many units were sold by vendors direct and into the channel since many of them don’t share their shipment number. However, through a combination of industry sources and deduction from earnings releases, they can have a pretty good guess.

“Smartphone shipments grew during the first quarter as emerging markets continued their strong momentum, while Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, grew the most compared to a difficult Q1 2023,” said Prachir Singh of Counterpoint. Consumer demand in these markets has been growing gradually and the inventory levels have improved.

“MEA was the fastest growing region due to the strong shipments of TECNO, Xiaomi and HONOR. China also grew YoY owing to strong Lunar New Year sales and Huawei’s comeback. The India market also saw growth thanks to exiting 2023 with healthy inventory levels. The mature markets of North America and Japan declined relative to the same period in 2023.”

Huawei’s comeback in China seems to have hit Apple especially hard, confirming previous observations by Counterpoint. It’s also presumably not being helped by tit-for-tat measures imposed by the Chinese government as its tech cold war with the US continues to escalate.

“China is an important market for Apple with the second largest shipment volume after the United States,” said Jusy Hong of Omdia. “However, Apple has been facing intense competition from Huawei in the premium segment of the Chinese local market since the second half of last year, which has contributed to disappointing iPhone shipments in the first quarter.”


Counterpoint also published some numbers on smartphone revenues, which it says reached their highest ever level in the first quarter. In these inflationary times you would expect revenues to continue to rise, but it seems people are increasingly inclined to spend more on these vital digital Swiss Army knives.



About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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