The global smartphone market has seen a massive consolidation over the past six years, according to new data from Counterpoint Research. It revealed that the number of active smartphone brands has declined sharply from over 700 in 2017 to around 250 currently. The drop represents almost 500 brands exiting the business, including popular brands such as Microsoft Lumia, BlackBerry, and LG.
Most shuttered brands came from local manufacturers in key markets like India, China, the Middle East, Africa and Japan. Well-known brands no longer available include Micromax, Intex, Karbonn from India, Meizu, Coolpad and Gionee from China.
The global smartphone market has undergone significant changes in recent years that have contributed to the decline of some smaller brands. As highlighted by Counterpoint, factors such as longer replacement cycles, a growing refurbished market, supply chain issues and technological changes have posed major challenges for smartphone companies.
This has particularly impacted smaller players, with limited resources and the ability to scale, compared to the largest manufacturers. While brands such as LG and Kyocera had local presence in some markets, they ultimately struggled to compete in the face of these industry headwinds.
It is worth noting that Microsoft is not retreating from the smartphone market. Although the Lumia series is dead, it still has devices like the Surface Duo. In contrast, larger brands like Samsung and Apple have been better equipped to weather the storms through advantages such as massive production capabilities and broader product portfolios.
In the blog post, Counterpoint wrote:
From the COVID-19 pandemic and component shortages to the ongoing global economic slowdown, multiple headwinds have affected smartphone brands across the board in the recent past. For big brands, it has been relatively easier to shore up profit margins in this market environment. But small brands have struggled to keep operations running.
Meanwhile, the researcher notes some niche brands focusing on premium segments or specific use cases may still survive. Examples include Fairphone for sustainability and Doro and Sonim for seniors.
Source and image: Counterpoint Research