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Almost 500 brands (!) have exited the smartphone market since 2017

Unfortunately, local brands account for the vast majority of closures.

Published onSeptember 22, 2023

LG V60 top half of back 3
  • Almost 500 smartphone brands have exited the market since 2017, according to a new report.
  • Local brands accounted for the overwhelming majority of shuttered companies.

We all know about the major Android phone manufacturers leaving the market in recent years, such as BlackBerry and LG. But a tracking firm has now revealed that almost 500 brands have actually exited the smartphone business in the last seven years.

Counterpoint Research revealed that there were almost 250 active smartphone brands in 2023, down from over 700 in 2017. Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Counterpoint noted that the decline was “almost entirely” coming from local brands. It added that the number of global brands consistently stayed above 30.

It specifically pointed to 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).

Why are smaller brands disproportionately affected?

Active smartphone brands Counterpoint Research
Counterpoint Research

It’s worth noting that some of these listed brands were available globally (LG, Kyocera) or were bought out by a larger brand (Meizu and Meitu). Nevertheless, it’s clear that smaller companies bore the brunt of closures.

Have you ever bought a phone from a local brand before?

681 votes

Counterpoint cited a number of challenges for smartphone brands shutting down. These reasons included 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 said it expects the number of active brands to further decrease, but there is hope for smaller manufacturers. It explains that brands focusing on a specific niche might be able to survive by selling these devices at a premium. Examples cited include Fairphone, Doro, and Sonim.

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