The global smartphone market has seen massive consolidation over the past six years, according to new data from Counterpoint Research. He revealed that the number of active smartphone brands has dropped sharply from over 700 in 2017 to about 250 today. The drop represents nearly 500 brands going out of business, including popular brands like Microsoft Lumia, BlackBerry and LG.
Most of the shutter brands came from local manufacturers in key markets such as India, China, the Middle East, Africa and Japan. Well-known brands that are 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 Counterpoint highlighted, 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 affected smaller players, with limited resources and ability to scale, compared to the largest manufacturers. While brands like LG and Kyocera had a local presence in some markets, they ultimately struggled to compete against industry headwinds.
It is worth noting that Microsoft has not withdrawn from the smartphone market. Although the Lumia series is dead, it still has devices like the Surface Duo. In contrast, larger brands such as Samsung and Apple were better equipped to weather the storms with advantages such as massive manufacturing capabilities and a broader product portfolio.
In a 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 was relatively easy to improve profit margins in this market environment. But small brands have struggled to stay afloat.
Meanwhile, the researcher notes that some niche brands focused on premium segments or specific use cases may still survive. Examples include Fairphone for sustainability and Doro and Sony for seniors.
Source and image: Counterpoint study