Fewer than 1.2 billion smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2022
According to a recent report by analyst firm Canalys, 2022 was one of the worst years for global smartphone shipments in nearly a decade, with global shipments falling around 11%. The largest decline was recorded last quarter, when worldwide shipments fell by 17% compared to the previous year. All told, Canalys said, total shipments for the full year came in short of 1.2 billion.
“Smartphone vendors have struggled in a difficult macroeconomic environment throughout 2022. Q4 marks the worst annual and Q4 performance in a decade,” said Canalys Research Analyst Runar Bjørhovde. “The channel is very cautious in taking on new inventory, contributing to low shipments in Q4. Backed by strong promotional incentives from suppliers and channels, the Christmas sales season helped reduce inventory levels.”
He added that in the first three quarters of 2022, low- to mid-level demand declined rapidly, but it was high-end demand that began to show weakness in the 4th quarter. “The market’s performance in Q4 2022 stands in stark contrast to Q4 2021, when demand was increasing and supply issues eased,” Bjørhovde said.
Despite declining demand and market challenges in China, Apple not only regained the top spot in Q4, but also achieved its highest ever quarterly market share of 25%. Samsung followed with a 20% market share; however, the Korean supplier was awarded the title of top supplier for the whole year. Xiaomi again came in third, although it saw its market share drop to 11% in Q4, which Canalys said was caused by challenges in India. Completing the top five, OPPO and vivo claimed 10% and 8% market share respectively.
“Suppliers will approach 2023 cautiously, prioritizing profitability and protecting market share,” said Canalys Research Analyst Le Xuan Chiew. “Vendors are cutting costs to adapt to new market realities. Building strong channel partnerships will be important to protect market share, as difficult market conditions for both channel partners and suppliers can easily lead to strained negotiations.”