A new study released earlier this week from Counterpoint Research revealed strong growth year over year for the “premium” smartphone market. This growth comes despite an overall trend of smartphone sales slowing by 3%. Keep in mind that for purposes of the analysis, the “premium” market is defined as phones that cost $400 or more, which seems to pull in a lot of devices that we would normally consider mid-tier devices.

Research Director Tom Kang with Counterpoint Research noted the following concerning the premium smartphone market:

“Within the premium segment, the $800+ ultra-premium segment has been growing the fastest. In 2017 it was merely 8% of the premium market (defined as $400+). Ever since the Apple iPhone X was introduced in late 2017, prices have jumped to a new level. Further more in 2018, the new flagships of Apple (XS, XS Max), Samsung (note 9) and Google (Pixel 3 XL) were all launched above the $800 price. OEMs were able to increase the average price points (ASPs), taking advantage of the headroom created by Apple.”

In terms of market share, Apple is the giant in the room with 51% of the premium market. Samsung trails far behind at only 22%. Meanwhile, Huawei in third place with a mere 10% saw their share almost double compared to 2017.

The researchers broke down the premium market into a category called “ultra-premium” for devices with an $800+ price point and an “affordable premium” segment for devices in the $400 to $600 range. In that latter segment, OnePlus has been making huge strides in grabbing market share, especially in India.

All of this growth for higher end devices not only shows people are willing to spend more on their devices, but many may be slowly moving up the curve from lower levels when it is time to replace a device. Counterpoint Research does caution that with these increased prices, consumers should probably be expected to hold on to their phones for longer amounts of time.

source: Counterpoint Research


Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff’s past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.




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