Samsung and Apple had a not-so-terrible quarter in the US smartphone market

Samsung and Apple had a not-so-terrible quarter in the US smartphone market
India was obviously not the only major smartphone market negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in recent months, but although things were pretty bad in the US as well between April and June, the latest data collected and published by Counterpoint Research arguably looks better than last week's Canalys report.

While smartphone shipments registered a whopping 48 percent year-on-year decline in India during Q2 2020, US smartphone sell-through was 25 percent worse in the same timeframe compared to the April - June 2019 quarter. 

All things considered, that significantly smaller drop proves the US handset market is especially "resilient", according to Counterpoint's top researchers and analysts, a fact supported and highlighted by the June 2020 sales numbers in particular.

Samsung and Apple's numbers are down but not by very much


Yes, both tech giants sold far fewer mobile devices stateside in the April - June 2020 window compared to the same period of time last year. But both companies also experienced lower than average declines.

In Samsung's case, we have to assume the newest members of the mid-range Galaxy A family heavily outperformed their forerunners given that high-end Galaxy S20 series activations during their opening four months (starting in March) were apparently 38 percent lower than the same figures racked up by the Galaxy S10 lineup between March and June 2019.


This is far from the first report to document Samsung's Galaxy S20 struggles, which clearly means the likes of the Galaxy A51 and possibly last year's Note 10 and S10 families were instrumental in helping the company wrap up the quarter with a modest 10 percent deficit in sell-through volume.

Meanwhile, Apple's volumes were largely kept afloat by the popularity of the budget-friendly second-gen iPhone SE, which was that much more successful stateside thanks to surprisingly attractive promotions offered by everyone from Walmart to Metro by T-Mobile and Boost Mobile. The iPhone SE (2020) is proving to be an especially wise move on Apple's part, as the 4.7-inch handset is unlikely to cannibalize "fall 5G iPhone sales."

That's because most people buying the company's latest compact iPhone model would have never considered a 5G-enabled iPhone 12 variant, switching from an iPhone 6s or older device or a similarly affordable Android soldier. 

Interestingly, Alcatel was another strong Q2 2020 performer, actually edging out Apple in terms of its year-on-year sell-through evolution thanks primarily to "solid sales within government subsidized programs and within prepaid channels."

LG, OnePlus, and Motorola had a particularly rough three months


Although you may have expected US store closures to affect those with a stronger retail presence more, the brands that experienced the largest declines in Q2 sales are not exactly very visible and active in the offline retail landscape anyway.

As far as LG, Motorola, and perhaps especially ZTE is concerned, that might have something to do with the fact prepaid channels were hurt more than postpaid demand. Postpaid channels were boosted by a massive rise in online smartphone sales, but even though the nation's top wireless service providers all carry quite a few LG and Motorola handsets, these evidently failed to generate much online interest at the peak of the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis.


Meanwhile, the staggering 60 percent drop in OnePlus volumes has to be owed, at least in part, to the supply shortages of the 5G-capable 8 Pro, which were only remedied towards the end of the year's second calendar quarter.

The quarter, by the way, actually ended on a pretty high note, with "pent-up demand created by the weeks of store closures" and stimulus checks resulting in an unspecified year-on-year jump in overall June sales. It remains to be seen if the market will be able to ride that wave of recovery into Q3, although things are not looking very promising for Samsung's Galaxy S20 roster, for instance.

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