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Smartphone shipments suffer ‘largest-ever’ drop since 2013 — IDC

Citing dampened consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties, market intelligence firm International Data Corp. said worldwide smartphone shipments in 2022 ended with shipments of 1.21 billion units, “which represents the lowest annual shipment total since 2013.” 

Smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter (4Q22) declined 18.3% to 300.3 million units year over year (YoY). The drop marks the largest-ever decline in a single quarter and contributed to a steep 11.3% decline for the year. 

This tough close to the year puts the 2.8% recovery expected for 2023 in serious jeopardy with heavy downward risk to the forecast.

Smartphone shipments to decline 9.1% YoY in 2022 — IDC
Smartphone shipments suffer 5th straight decline in Q3 2022 — IDC

“We have never seen shipments in the holiday quarter come in lower than the previous quarter. However, weakened demand and high inventory caused vendors to cut back drastically on shipments,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC ‘ s Worldwide Tracker team. “Heavy sales and promotions during the quarter helped deplete existing inventory rather than drive shipment growth. Vendors are increasingly cautious in their shipments and planning while realigning their focus on profitability.”

IDC noted that Apple, “which thus far was seemingly immune,” suffered a setback in its supply chain with unforeseen lockdowns at its key factories in China. 

Smartphone trade-in

“We continue to witness consumer demand dwindle as refresh rates climb past 40 months in most major markets,” said Anthony Scarsella, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “With 2022 declining more than 11% for the year, 2023 is set up to be a year of caution as vendors will rethink their portfolio of devices while channels will think twice before taking on excess inventory.”

But not all is as bleak as it seems because according to IDC because trade-ins (Read related story here.) offered by vendors are on a spike, so far. 

For 2022, Samsung leads the vendors in shipments with a market share of 21.6% followed by Apple with 18.8%. Xiaomi 12.7%, OPPO 8.6%, and vivo 8.2% complete the top 5 vendors with the most smartphone shipments in 2022, based on IDC’s data.