Q4 2022 was a disaster for smartphone sales, sees the largest-ever drop

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samsung experience store spain 16 760x380.webp.webp
samsung experience store spain 16 760x380.webp.webp
An empty Samsung Store.
Enlarge / An empty Samsung Store.

With a million layoffs and rising inflation, it turns out consumers also aren’t interested in spending a ton on a new smartphone. The International Data Corporation has the latest numbers for worldwide smartphone sales in Q4 2022, and it’s a disaster. Shipments declined 18.3 percent year-over-year, making for the largest-ever decline in a single quarter and dragging the year down to an 11.3 percent decline. With overall shipments of 1.21 billion phones for the year, the IDC says this is the lowest annual shipment total since 2013.

In the top five for Q4 2022—in order, they were Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo—Apple was, of course, the least affected, but not by much. Apple saw a year-over-year drop of 14.9 percent for Q4 2022, Samsung was down 15.6 percent, and the big loser, Xiaomi, dropped 26.5 percent. For the year, Samsung still took the No. 1 spot with 21.6 percent market share, Apple was No. 2 with 18.8 percent, and Xiaomi took third place at 12.7 percent.

The Q4 2022 bloodbath.
Enlarge / The Q4 2022 bloodbath.

The IDC also notes consumers are keeping smartphones longer than ever now, with “refresh rates” or the time that passes before people buy a new phone ‘climb[ing] past 40 months in most major markets.’ The report closes saying: “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. However, on a positive note, consumers may find even more generous trade-in offers and promotions continuing well into 2023 as the market will think of new methods to drive upgrades and sell more devices, specifically high-end models.”

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