Mobile Devices

Smartphone shipments drop 11.3% in 2022

26 January 2023
The top 5 smartphones companies yearly revenues for 2022. Source: IDC

The global shipment of smartphones was hit with its largest decline ever in the fourth quarter of 2022, leading to a steep drop of 11.3% for the year, according to new research from International Data Corp. (IDC).

Cellular phone shipments dropped 18.3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter to 300.3 million units and, overall, in 2022 shipments of smartphones ended at 1.21 billion units — the lowest annual shipment total since 2013.

IDC said the decline was due to:

  • Dampened consumer demand
  • Inflation
  • Economic uncertainties
  • Geopolitical issues

"We have never seen shipments in the holiday quarter come in lower than the previous quarter,” said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC. “However, weakened demand and high inventory caused vendors to cut back drastically on shipments. 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.”

Popal said that even Apple suffered a setback in its supply chain with unforeseen lockdowns at its factories in China. These growing macro concerns continue to stunt consumer spending even more than expected and will push out the expected recovery to the end of 2023, IDC forecasts.

IDC said 2023 is set up to be a year of caution as vendors may need to rethink portfolios of smartphones. As a result, consumers may have the upper hand on getting good deals on promotions and trade-in offers, particularly on high-end models.

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