Global smartphone shipments shrunk by 18.3% year-over-year to 300.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the latest report by market intelligence firm IDC. This drop contributed to a steep 11.3% decline for the year, and is also the biggest ever decline in a single quarter.
The firm also found that a total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, the lowest yearly shipment total since 2013. IDC attributes this to significantly diminished consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties.
"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. "What this holiday quarter tells us is that rising inflation and growing macro concerns continue to stunt consumer spending even more than expected and push out any possible recovery to the very end of 2023."
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For the fourth quarter of 2022, Apple led the pack with 72.3 million units shipped, down from 85 million back in 2021. Samsung came in second at 58.2 million, a decrease of almost 11 million units from its 2021 numbers. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo, meanwhile, shipped 33.2 million, 25.3 million, and 22.9 units, respectively.
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When it comes to total shipments for the entire 2022, however, Samsung took the crown with 260.9 million units shipped, a 4.1% decline from 2021's 272.1 million. Meanwhile, Apple took second place with 226.4 million devices shipped, a decrease of about 4.0% from the previous year. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo again made the top 5, all recording shipment declines.
"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," said Anthony Scarsella, research director at IDC. "However, on a positive note, consumers may find even more generous trade-in offers and promotions continuing well into 2023 as the market will think of new methods to drive upgrades and sell more devices, specifically high-end models."
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