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Smartphone Shipments Drop to Lowest Levels Since 2013

Smartphone Shipping Decline

According to IDC’s latest report, the final quarter of 2022 has been a rough time for smartphone manufacturers. Total smartphone shipments worldwide dropped by 18.3% from 367.6 million units in Q4 2021 to 300.3 million units in Q4 2022, marking the largest-ever decline in a single quarter.

This contributed to the full year decline of 11.3% from 1.36 billion units shipped in 2021 to 1.21 billion units in 2022. The total annual shipment of 1.21 billion units is the lowest since 2013 and is attributed to weakened consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties.

Leading the way in Q4 2022, Apple shipped 72.3 million units, followed by Samsung with 58.2 million units. Xiaomi shipped 33.2 million units, while Oppo and Vivo from BBK Group came in fourth and fifth place with 25.3 million and 22.9 million units shipped respectively.IDC Smartphone Market Share Q4 2022

Despite the decline, Samsung remained the top smartphone maker for the full year of 2022, shipping 260.9 million units and holding a 21.6% market share. Apple followed with 226.4 million units, and Xiaomi retained the third spot with 153.1 million units. Oppo shipped 103.3 million units and Vivo shipped 99 million units.IDC Smartphone Market Share Q4 2022-1

Reasons Behind the Decline

IDC’s Research Director for the Worldwide Tracker Team, Nabila Popal, noted that this is the first time they have seen holiday quarter shipments lower than the previous quarter. The weakened demand and high inventory caused vendors to cut back on shipments significantly.

However, the end-of-year sales and promotions helped to reduce existing inventory rather than drive shipment growth. The poor results in Q4 2022 indicate that inflation and macro concerns will continue to impact consumer spending and delay any possible recovery until the end of 2023.

On a positive note, IDC researcher Anthony Scarsella believes that the current situation allows consumers to benefit from more generous trade-in offers and promotions. As the market adjusts, it will seek new ways to drive upgrades and sell devices, especially high-end models.

Vendors will be cautious in their shipments and planning, realigning their focus on profitability. Even Apple, previously seemingly immune, faced setbacks in its supply chain due to lockdowns at key factories in China.

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