In the fourth quarter of 2022, smartphone shipments fell by 17% compared to 2021. As a result, annual shipments of smartphones fell by 11%, according to new data from Canalys, which calls 2022 “an extremely difficult year for all suppliers.”
Quarterly and yearly numbers were the lowest in nearly a decade. The last time comparable figures were in 2013, but then “the market situation was very different, because the technology was much more developing.”
Apple returned to number one in the fourth quarter with a quarter of the total market. Samsung held on to second place, but is still in first place for all of 2022.
“The channels are very cautious about new inventory, which contributed to low shipments in the fourth quarter,” analyst Runar Bjorhovde said in blog post . “Supported by strong promotional initiatives from vendors and channels, the holiday sales season has helped reduce inventory levels. While demand for low- and mid-price goods fell rapidly in previous quarters, demand for high-end goods began to decline in the fourth quarter as well. Market performance in the fourth quarter of 2022 is in stark contrast to the fourth quarter of 2021, which saw an increase in demand and an easing of supply concerns.”
The industry saw a slight rebound as supply chain restrictions began to ease, but additional external factors reversed these positive trends. Canalys does not expect much recovery until the end of 2023, forecasting growth to be “flat or minimal” as economic uncertainty and inflation persist.
Unemployment, rising interest rates and other issues are expected to have a negative impact on markets, including North America and parts of Europe. This should be counteracted to some extent by China’s rise as the world’s largest smartphone market continues its post-pandemic reopening process.
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