Counterpoint Research revealed 250 active smartphone brands in 2023, down from over 700 in 2017. Counterpoint noted that the decline was “almost entirely” from local brands while the big global brands had been consistent.
The research noted shuttered brands in India (Micromax, Intex, Karbonn), the Middle East and Africa (Injoo and Xtouch), China (Meizu, Meitu, Gionee, and Coolpad), Japan (Kyocera and NEC), and Korea (LG).
While some of these listed brands were available globally (LG, Kyocera) or were bought out by a more prominent brand (Meizu and Meitu), the smaller brands were disproportionately the victims of the buyouts.
Counterpoint said there were reasons why smartphone brands shut down, including a maturing userbase, longer replacement cycles, a growing refurbished market, supply chain challenges, economic hurdles (including the pandemic), technological transitions (e.g. 4G to 5G), and the immense scale of major manufacturers.
The tracking company expects the number of active brands to decrease further, but there is hope for smaller manufacturers. It explains that brands focusing on a specific niche might survive by selling these devices at a premium. Examples cited include Fairphone, Doro, and Sonim.