The sale of smartphones suffers the biggest drop in history

Long gone are Christmases in which the star gift was a new smartphone. The increasingly timid updates, the sufficient autonomy and power of the terminals and the inflation and economic uncertainty have caused the sale of smart smartphones to decrease by 18.3% year-on-year in the last quarter, according to the market intelligence agency IDC. .

In addition, the fall is more pronounced quarter to quarter. Barely 300 million units have been sold. That fewer units are distributed in the Christmas period than in the months between July and September is something unheard of.

Only 1,205 million phones have been sold during 2022, the lowest figure collected since 2013, when the great boom and maturity of the telephone market began. 11.3% fewer terminals have been sold than in 2021 (1,360 million), and throws overboard the analysts’ forecasts of the expected recovery for 2023.

“We have never seen a fall like this”

“We have never seen sales of smartphones in the holiday quarter be lower than those of the previous quarter. However, weakening demand and high stock levels have led sellers to drastically cut shipments.” says Nabila Popalresearch director for IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team.

Number of terminals distributed in the last quarter of 2022 by the five main manufacturers and its comparison with 2021.

We not only find explanations for such a fall in the war in Ukraine and in consumption patterns. As Popal points out, the promotions and sales brought about by the holidays have caused inventory to run out rather than drive more sales. “Manufacturers are increasingly adopting greater caution when planning the distribution of their terminals and the main focus is now profitability,” he stresses.

The increase in the cost of all materials and the serious problems for the assembly of components and the manufacture of chips have seriously affected all brands, including Apple. In China, the containment protocol deployed by the government triggered protests and serious production delays.

Number of terminals distributed throughout 2022 by the five main manufacturers and its comparison with 2021.

The collapse in the sale of smartphones does not invite us to think about a quick recovery

The data indicates that inflation and the geopolitical situation worries companies and consumers. The ‘smartphone’ plays a fundamental role in the lives of consumers, but the pattern of terminal renewal every year or two will be increasingly unusual. Right now, the general perception is that renewing a mobile phone is a luxury and not a necessity. The market is unlikely to show any signs of recovering before 2024, Popal predicts.

Curiously, Apple and Samsung are the ones that have decreased their sales and market share the least compared to the figures for the same quarter of the previous year. Chinese manufacturers have been hardest hit, with their sales falling by more than 20% in some cases.

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