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Worldwide smartphone shipments in 2022 were the lowest in nearly a decade • TechCrunch

One of these days I have positive news about the global smartphone market. Today is not that day. The industry ended another dismal year with a 17% year-on-year decline for the fourth quarter. That number puts full-year shipping numbers 11% below 2021, according to new figures from Canalys, which cites it as “an extremely challenging year for all suppliers.”

It’s one thing after another from the industry. Slowing numbers predate 2020 as the pandemic and its various knock-on effects continued to throw roadblocks. For 2022, the same macroeconomic headwinds that have affected virtually every facet of life have taken their toll on the industry. In particular, quarterly and full-year figures were at their lowest levels in nearly a decade. The company tells TechCrunch, “We have to go back to 2013 to find lower numbers — and then the market situation was very different because the technology was much more up and coming.”

Image Credits: Channels

Apple returned to the top spot for the fourth quarter, with a quarter of the total market. Samsung held on to number 2, but still took the top spot for all of 2022.

“The channel is very cautious about taking on new inventory, contributing to low shipments in the fourth quarter,” analyst Runar Bjørhovde said in a new release. “Supported by strong promotional incentives from suppliers and channels, the holiday sales season helped to reduce inventory levels. While low- to mid-range demand declined rapidly in previous quarters, high-end demand began to soften in the fourth quarter. The market’s performance in the fourth quarter of 2022 is in stark contrast to the fourth quarter of 2021, when demand increased and supply issues eased.”

It’s a long shot to say that the industry saw a slight uptick as supply chain restrictions began to ease, but additional external forces reversed those positive trends – and then some. The company also doesn’t expect much recovery for the remainder of 2023, forecasting growth to be “flat to marginal” as economic uncertainty and inflation persist.

Unemployment, rate hikes and other issues are expected to negatively impact “mid-to-upper segment dominated markets,” including North America and parts of Europe. That should be offset to some extent by a shock from China as the world’s largest smartphone market continues its reopening process.

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