In 2017 there were 700 smartphone makers globally.
By 2023, that number had dwindled to 250 manufacturers according to a research report by Counterpoint.
A majority of the products that are no longer available were regional phones from local companies that have found the market against the big global providers challenging.
The pandemic proved especially difficult for these companies for whom manufacturing challenges and OEM parts shortages have proven more difficult to overcome than their large rivals.
Global companies have a large advantage on the research and development front, with small companies being challenged to launch new phones with features such as 5G, which are considered table stakes in today’s market.
The reduction was particularly heavy in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, where the market has been historically fragmented.
China has seen a huge rise in low-cost, white-glove smartphones with these companies challenging more established manufacturers to move into the global market.
But as the smartphone market continues to mature the number of manufacturers is likely to continue to consolidate around the bigger global players.
It is estimated that over half of all smartphones are sold by either Apple or Samsung.
In fact, 80% of all smartphones are sold by the top six companies in the market.
With this level of dominance by these companies, they can continue to pressure the smaller vendors with better R&D, while challenging on price, making it harder for the local companies to differentiate themselves.
We will continue to see mergers & acquisitions occurring, or companies simply declaring bankruptcy and ceasing to exist.