US phone shipments rebound following COVID-19 closures, analyst says


Apple’s quarterly market share reached 47% with the launch of the iPhone SE, according to a Canalys report.

Angela Lang/CNET

As Chinese factory operations resumed at the end of March and stores reopened around the world in May and June amid the coronavirus pandemic, the smartphone market saw an 11% quarter-on-quarter increase in US shipments in the second quarter, according to a Tuesday report by Canalys. During the quarter, vendors shipped 31.9 million smartphones in the United States, the report said, which is still a 5% year-on-year decline.

Nearly 70% of phones shipped in the US in that period were made in China, Canalys said, up from 60% the previous quarter. Apple and Samsung reportedly accounted for seven out of every 10 devices sold. Apple shipped 15 million iPhones, and saw its quarterly market share reach 47% with the launch of the iPhone SE. Samsung’s shipment levels matched last year’s, but it shipped 59% fewer Galaxy S20 5G series phones than S10 series devices in the second quarter of 2019. “Samsung found itself leaning heavily on its low-end Galaxy A10e and A20 devices to prop up shipments,” Canalys said.

“As the coronavirus pandemic forced consumers to stay at home, 5G adoption in the US failed to take off,” Canalys analyst Vincent Thielke noted. “Store closures and virus fears limited interaction with demonstration models, tight consumer budgets further constrained spending power, and with scarce 5G network coverage in American suburbia, consumers saw plenty of reasons to buy a 4G device instead. Despite the lackluster 5G roll-out so far, strong carrier marketing in coming quarters will be instrumental in catalyzing a multi-year transition period from LTE to 5G.”

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