The Pixel prevails while others fall

The periscope lens highlighted on the Google Pixel Fold's camera bar
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Shipments in the U.S. smartphone market fell by roughly 22% year-over-year in Q2 2023.
  • While most major smartphone brands shipped fewer units, Google was the only to see an uptick in shipments.
  • The second half of 2023 is expected to improve, but shipments for the overall year look dismal.

The Pixel 8 launch is a week away, and based on recent numbers, Google's smartphones could be a hit, at least in the United States. A recent analysis from Canalys of the U.S. smartphone shipments for Q2 2023 shows a pretty downbeat quarter for nearly all major smartphone OEMs. Well, except for Google, that is.

From Apple to TCL, smartphone vendors shipped between 20% and 30% less than they did in Q2 2022, aiding to the overall 22% slump for the quarter as a whole. Google was the only bright spot of the lot, having shipped nearly 60% more Pixel smartphones year over year.

The U.S. smartphone market in Q2 2023

(Image credit: Canalys)

Interestingly, this is a time when Google launched a few new devices, including the budget-friendly Pixel 7a, the Pixel Tablet, and the eye-watering $1800 Pixel Fold, and the latter two weren't available until the tail end of the quarter. Meanwhile, Samsung was still banking on its relatively new Galaxy S23 series, which apparently did not help its numbers very much.

Analyst Lindsey Upton says the new iPhone 15 and foldables like the Motorola Razr Plus and Pixel Fold should help push higher sales in the second half of the year as companies focus on the premium market segment.

We expect Apple's iPhone 15 portfolio and Samsung's Galaxy Fold5 and Flip5 will stimulate premium segment consumer upgrades for carriers," says Upton. "Brands such as Google Pixel and Motorola, which have been keeping up with the premiumization game with their flagship foldable devices this year, will further sweeten the holiday deals that hit the market in November and December."

This isn't the first time Google was singled out for having a positive growth quarter, although Google is still notably behind the bigger players in the smartphone game.

Still, it comes just as the company gets ready to launch the new Pixel 8 series on October 4. These phones are expected to feature a new chipset, upgraded cameras, and plenty of new AI features and capabilities. Rumors point to an increase in price, but given the rise in popularity of Google's Pixel phones as of late, consumers may be willing to shell out a little more for these new devices or wait for some potential holiday deals.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

  • Medevac1
    It's simple really. Google continues to refine and add features to their Pixel devices while the likes of Samsung deletes features with each iteration as they continue to emulate Apple's iPhones.
  • Stanley Kubrick
    One other reason that sales are down is that people are TIRED of paying $$$$$$$$$$ for a cell phone! The OEM's still do not understand that they can make MORE money by charging less per phone and selling more phones!
    But NOOOOoooooo....they can't resist trying to fleece everyone for their last penny on every sale! Well, the law of averages is coming back around to bite them right in the A$$!
    On top of that, for the last several years ALL cell phones, above maybe $150.00, have been more than capable of doing 99% of what 99% of users want/need. No need to buy a new expensive phone every year! SIMPLE!!!!