Smartphone shipments plunge to worst low since 2013

Global shipments of smartphones tumbled in Q4 to the lowest level since 2013.

Normally the festive period provides a boost for smartphone manufacturers, however thanks to macroeconomic weakness and waning consumer demand, research from IDC claimed.

Electronic retailers shipped 300.3 million smartphones in the October to December quarter, which represented an 18.3% year-on-year fall, according to the report.

The drop marks the largest-ever decline in a single quarter.

A total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, which represents the lowest annual shipment total since 2013 “due to significantly dampened consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties,” IDC said.

“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,” research director said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC.

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Shipments represent the devices that manufacturers such as Apple or Samsung send to retailers and mobile carriers. While they do not equate to sales they do give an indication of demand.

IDC said that the “tough close to the year puts the 2.8% recovery expected for 2023 in serious jeopardy with heavy downward risk to the forecast.”

Apple remained at the top of the pile, maintaining a 24.1% market share and shipping 72.3 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, down 14.9% year-on-year.

Samsung watched its shipments decline by 15.6% year-on-year to 58.2 million units.

“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,” IDC research director Anthony Scarsella.



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