The amount of smartphones shipped by manufacturers fell for the fifth consecutive quarter and will worsen until the end of 2022, experts warn.

Worldwide smartphone shipments fell to just under 302 million units in the third quarter of 2022, down 9.7% compared to the same period last year. Some of the cuts were deliberate as producers try to reduce inventories, but most of the decline was felt in emerging markets, where inflation and rising costs led to lower demand, according to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) report..

Among smartphone makers, Apple was the only one to ship more phones in the quarter than last year, as expected with its positive quarterly earnings. But inflation-wracked economies have blunted Apple’s growth in several markets, including China. Other phone makers such as Samsung and Xiaomi fared worse, although Chinese manufacturers Vivo and Oppo were the most affected. And things are expected to get worse before they get better.

“We now expect a sharper decline in shipments for 2022 and a milder recovery in 2023,” IDC research director Nabila Popal said in a press release. Although the analyst firm still believes a recovery is coming, it “will be delayed later in the year.”

The drop in shipments hasn’t shaken up the ranking of which brand ships the most phones. Samsung still holds the top spot with 64 million phones shipped, down more than 5 million units from the same quarter last year. Apple holds second place and Xiaomi third, with Vivo and Oppo fourth.

Analyst firm International Data Corporation’s ranking of the world’s five largest phone manufacturers and how shipments have changed for this third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year. The ranking has not changed since the second quarter of 2022.


Counterpoint Research largely agreed with IDC in a similar quarterly report, though it put the decline at 12 percent lower shipments compared to last year’s third quarter. In his final reportCounterpoint attributed global customer anxiety due to geopolitical issues, weakened national currencies and fears of a looming recession as reasons for the drop in supplies.

The firm also attributed more durable phones and slower technological advances as reasons for customers holding on to their phones longer, contributing to the decline. “This accompanies and to a lesser extent advances a decline in mid-range and lower-end smartphone shipments, even as the premium segment weathers the economic storm better,” Counterpoint Research senior analyst Harmeet Singh Walia said in a press release.

So it makes sense that Apple emerged as the only phone maker to buck the slump with positive growth after the launch of iPhone 14 series earlier in October.

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