Smartphone sales continue to fall, with Q4 down 18%
Smartphone shipments were down by 12% in 2022, according to market research company Canalys, and down by 18% in the last quarter of the year.
This is a continuation of a trend that has been going on since 2013 (see green line on chart), when previous annual growth turned negative, except for a blip upwards in 2021, at the peak of the pandemic.
“Leading markets struggled with sharp shipment declines toward the end of 2022, hitting both Samsung and Apple hard,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, analyst at Canalys. “Despite showing some stabilization in Q3, Asia Pacific and Europe suffered their worst Q4 performances in history in 2022.”
According to Canalys, global shipments were 296.9 million units in Q4 2022, and fewer than 1.2 billion in the full year.
The top five vendors in 2022 remained the same as in 2021, said the company, with Samsung in first place, followed by Apple, then Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.
Stocks piled up in top markets, such as India and the China, said Chaurasia. “Meanwhile, economic distress dented consumer spending in North and Latin America. Vendors must carefully plan their new product launches as retailers and telcos are reluctant to increase inventory levels.”
Research analyst Le Xuan Chiew added: “The popularity of iPhone Pro models will help Apple extend its revenue share, despite overall demand being under pressure. Meanwhile, the unexpected supply challenges with the Pro models have led to the acceleration of Apple’s production diversification, which will help the company mitigate the supply risk and ongoing geopolitical tensions.”
Analyst Amber Liu warned that “2023 will be a tough year”, adding: “The road to recovery for the smartphone market is clouded with uncertainties. Vendors and channels will watch the market dynamic closely and take a cautious approach. Smaller vendors must focus on securing profitability by finding niche opportunities with streamlined portfolios and efficient channel management.”