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These are hard times for smartphone manufacturers. This is now confirmed by IDC's figures, which show a striking drop in sales for the fourth quarter of 2022. Chinese smartphone manufacturers were particularly affected, while Samsung and Apple get off comparatively lightly.
The major smartphone manufacturers will not like what the market research company International Data Corporation (IDC) has just published in terms of figures for Q4/22. The company's latest report talks about a drop in sales of 18.3 percent, so IDC is talking about the "biggest decline ever".
Hard times for smartphone manufacturers
Just over 300 million units were sold in the fourth quarter of 2022. In the same quarter of the previous year, there were still 367 million devices. Over the entire year, 1.2 billion devices were sold, according to IDC. That's a whopping 11.3 percent less than the 1.36 billion smartphones in 2021! In the following chart, you can see how the top 5 smartphone manufacturers performed in Q4 or over the entire year:
As you can see, each of the five companies—i.e. Samsung and Apple, as well as Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo—lost double digits in the fourth quarter. Compared to the quarterly figures, at least Apple and Samsung got off lightly over the entire year: Both only lost about four percent. For comparison: According to IDC, Xiaomi shipped 19.8 percent fewer devices, Oppo and Vivo are even at just under 23 percent each.
Is Samsung the winner of the crisis?
Can you even speak of winners with such values in the crisis? Yes, in a way, because Samsung managed the feat of cementing or slightly expanding its position at the top despite declining sales. In other words, the Koreans now have a market share of 21.6 percent (in 2021 they were at 20%). Apple follows behind, increasing its market share to 18.8% thanks to the fourth quarter with new iPhones.
Apple thus benefited from the release of the new iPhones in the last quarter. Overall, however, IDC noted that the winter quarter as a whole was fabulously bad. This is remarkable, because thanks to new iPhones, Christmas business, and deal days such as Black Friday, this is usually the period with by far the highest sales.
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But it gets a bit worse, as IDC predicts that 2023 will also be a very difficult smartphone year. Smartphone buyers are suffering from inflation and will remain cautious about new purchases until the end of the year, according to IDC. The report also points to another exciting development that is getting in the way of manufacturers: users now keep their smartphones for an average of 40 months or almost three and a half years.
How do you come out of an article with such gloomy forecasts with a positive outlook? Perhaps with the assumption that we as buyers could profit from the crisis. On the one hand, the manufacturers will certainly put together exciting bundles, as we hope for the Samsung Galaxy S23, for example, which will be presented on February 1. On the other hand, the interest in used phones will increase and we will get rid of our old cucumbers for more money.
How do you see it? Is inflation driving you to forgo a smartphone purchase this year? How long have you been using your current phone? Let us know in the comments!