According to the latest research by Canalys, global smartphone sales dropped 18% to 296.9 million units in Q4 of 2022.
For the whole of 2022, less than 1.2 billion smartphone units were shipped, the lowest level since 2013, when consumer demand dropped significantly in the face of pressure from inflation and macroeconomic uncertainties.
In the fourth quarter of 2022, Apple was the smartphone company with the largest market share (25%), and Samsung ranked second with 20%.
"While demand in the low and mid-end segments fell sharply in previous quarters, the new high-end segment saw a decline in the fourth quarter," said analyst Runar Bjørhovde.
Mr. Bjørhovde pointed out that the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2022 was in stark contrast to a year ago when demand increased and supply was assured.
"The leading markets are struggling with a decline in demand in the last months of the year, thereby dealing a heavy blow to Samsung and Apple," said Sanyam Chaurasia, an analyst at Canalys.
“Despite showing some stability in the third quarter of 2022, the Asia Pacific and European markets recorded their worst Q4 performance on record. Inventories have been piling up in top markets, such as India and China, leading to a disappointing quarter. Meanwhile, economic tensions dragged down consumer spending in North America and Latin America. Firms must carefully plan new product announcements when retailers and telecom companies do not want to increase inventory levels,” he said.
Is 2023 going to be a difficult year?
"Entering 2023, Apple and Samsung are better positioned to weather the storm thanks to their dominance in the premium segment," said Canalys Research analyst Le Xuan Chiew. "The popularity of iPhone Pro models will help Apple continue to increase market share despite the overall decline in demand."
"Carriers will approach 2023 cautiously, prioritizing profits and protecting market share. They are cutting costs to adapt to new market realities. Building partnerships will be critical to protect market share, as difficult market conditions may affect the negotiations," said Canalys Research analyst Le Xuan Chiew.
Meanwhile, unexpected supply challenges for iPhone Pro models have prompted Apple to diversify its supply chain. From there, Apple will minimize supply risks and geopolitical tensions. Samsung is also maintaining its focus on profitability by consolidating its premium portfolio and creating niches through its Fold phone. On the other hand, Chinese firms will still receive many headwinds from the international market and a weak domestic market. In addition to the lackluster demand, inventory, margin pressure, and operational efficiency are also challenging.”
“2023 will be a difficult year. Recent macroeconomic trends suggest an increased risk of a global recession,” said Amber Liu, an analyst at Canalys.
“The smartphone market's path to recovery is clouded by a series of uncertainties. Brands and sales channels will monitor developments closely and approach them cautiously. Small brands must focus on ensuring profitability by finding niche opportunities, with lean product portfolios and effective channel management. On the other hand, well-known brands will have to research how to drive demand through their IoT ecosystem, provide differentiated premium products, and implement promotional strategies and effective sales channels”.