Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:53

Gloomy year for smartphones globally, and not much to anticipate in 2023 Featured

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Gloomy year for smartphones globally, and not much to anticipate in 2023 Image by David from Pixabay

Global smartphone shipments fell below the 1.2-billion unit mark in 2022, with the 11% year-on-year drop marking a low point for the industry, according to the technology analyst firm Canalys.

The new year is not expected to see any dramatic change in fortunes for the industry, with only flat to marginal growth predicted and the market outlook remaining tough.

The fall in the final quarter of the year was worse than for the full year, with shipments suffering a 17% hit, Canalys added.

As iTWire has reported, another analyst firm, Gartner, reported a higher annual shipment figure for 2021: 1.4 billion units, driven by a resurgence in the first half of that year.

Canalys said vendors experienced varying fortunes in the final quarter of 2022, with Apple regaining the top spot and also registering its highest market share: 25%.

smartphone figures 2022

Samsung was second with 20% share, but took the top spot for the full year. Xiaomi took third spot with 11% share in the quarter, while Oppo and vivo came in fourth and fifth with 10% and 8% share respectively.

“Smartphone vendors have struggled in a difficult macroeconomic environment throughout 2022," said Canalys research analyst Runar Bjørhovde. "4Q marks the worst annual and 4Q performance in a decade.

“The channel is highly cautious with taking on new inventory, contributing to low shipments in 4Q. Backed by strong promotional incentives from vendors and channels, the holiday sales season helped reduce inventory levels.

"While low-to-mid-range demand fell fast in previous quarters, high-end demand began to show weakness in 4Q. The market’s performance in 4Q 2022 stands in stark contrast to 4Q 2021, which saw surging demand and easing supply issues.”

Another analyst, Le Xuan Chiew, said: “Vendors will approach 2023 cautiously, prioritising profitability and protecting market share.

global 2022 smart brands

“Vendors are cutting costs to adapt to the new market reality. Building strong partnerships with the channel will be important for protecting market share as difficult market conditions for both channel partners and vendors can easily lead to strenuous negotiations.”

Regarding the outlook for 2023, Chiew said: “Though inflationary pressures will gradually ease, the effects of interest rate hikes, economic slowdowns and an increasingly struggling labour market will limit the market’s potential.

“This will adversely affect saturated, mid-to-high-end-dominated markets, such as Western Europe and North America.

"While China’s re-opening will improve domestic consumer and business confidence, government stimuli are only likely to show effects in six to nine months and demand in China will remain challenging in the short term.

"Still, some regions are likely to grow in the second half of 2023, with Southeast Asia, in particular, expected to see some economic recovery and a resurgence of tourism in China helping to drive business activities.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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