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Smartphone Shipments Fell In 2022: What Went Wrong?

It seems that the smartphone market had a rough end to 2022, as global shipments took a nosedive in the fourth quarter, which typically is a high-volume shopping period.


According to market research firm IDC, electronics firms shipped a total of 300.3 million smartphones in the October to December quarter, marking an 18.3% drop from the previous year. This marks the largest-ever decline in a single quarter, and the lowest annual shipment total since 2013.


What’s to blame for this drop in shipments? IDC cites “significantly dampened consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties” as the main culprits. Additionally, weakened demand and high inventory caused vendors to cut back drastically on shipments. This tough close to the year also makes the 2.8% recovery expected for 2023 unlikely.


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iPhone 14 lineup
iPhone 14 lineup. Image Source: MacRumours.


Despite this, Apple managed to maintain its position as the number one smartphone maker in the world, shipping 72.3 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, which was down 14.9% year on year (YoY). However, the decline came despite Apple launching its latest models, the iPhone 14 series, ahead of the crucial holiday quarter. The tech giant faced a number of supply chain issues in the December quarter, as the world’s biggest iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, China, suffered a Covid outbreak and massive protests.


Samsung, the second-largest smartphone maker, saw a decline of 15.6% YoY to 58.2 million units shipped. The company did not release a brand new flagship smartphone for the fourth quarter, but is holding an event on February 1 at which it is likely to show off its new device.


Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi, came in third with 33.2 million units shipment in the period, representing a YoY decline of 26.3%. This was the biggest decline among the top five smartphone players, which also include other Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and Vivo.


In conclusion, it looks like the smartphone market had a tough end to 2022, with global shipments taking a major hit in the fourth quarter. Experts advice smartphone makers to be cautious in 2023 because vendors could be rethinking their portfolio of devices before ordering new products.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.