Smartphone shipments saw ‘largest ever decline’ during holiday season

Usually what turns out to be the busiest, most profitable time of the year, turned out to be gloomy for smartphone shippers worldwide. There have been many research organisations confirming that there was a decline in the number of smartphone shipments globally, and more recently, IDC’s latest research solidified that the number of shipments declined by 18.3% Y-o-Y to just over 300 million units in 2022’s last quarter. This further contributed to a steep decline of 11.3% in the numbers for the entire year. IDC suggest that this is the largest-ever decline in a single quarter.

“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.”

Nabila Popal, research director, IDC

According to the report, global shipments reached 1.21 billion units, which is the lowest ever number since 2013. The reasons for this decline, as told by IDC, are the weakening global consumer demand, inflation and economic uncertainties.

IDC’s research says that Apple shipped almost 15% lesser (72.3 million) iPhones in December 2022 as compared to Q4 2021. The decline of shipments of a big and substantially stable player like Apple can be attributed to the unforeseen lockdowns in China, which made an impact on its key manufacturing facilities in the country.

“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,”

Anthony Scarsella, Research Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

Other big names also suffered in the holiday quarter. Samsung’s shipments were down 15.6% whereas Oppo and Vivo also saw a similar decline. Xiaomi had the worst quarter of all the major smartphone brands as it suffered a 26.3% decline in shipments.

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