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  • Kyle Chua

Smartphone Shipments Suffer Worst Quarterly Drop Ever Amid Softening Consumer Demand

The smartphone industry didn't do so well last year, with shipments reportedly suffering the worst quarterly drop on record, but there's good news for consumers.

Credit: Reuters

According to the market research group International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipments fell 18.3% year over year last quarter, the largest drop ever, which saw about 300.3 million units shipped. That drop contributed to annual shipments falling 11.3% in 2022. That year saw 1.2 billion units shipped, the lowest annual shipment total since 2013.


"We have never seen shipments in the holiday quarter come in lower than the previous quarter," said Nabila Popal, Research Director of IDC's Worldwide Tracker Team. "However, weakened demand and high inventory caused vendors to cut back drastically on shipments."


IDC attributes the drop to a number of factors, including softening consumer demand, inflation and fears of economic uncertainties. Even Apple, which is typically "immune" to market trends, has been impacted by the same economic factors, with its shipments being delayed after its factories in China were forced to go on lockdown.

Credit: Reuters via Engadget

On the flip side, the drop could prove to be favourable for consumers. IDC said smartphone makers would be coming up with new ways to drive demand and boost sales, especially for high-end models. So if you're in the market for a new smartphone or have been considering an upgrade, this might be your lucky year as you can likely expect more generous trade-in deals and bigger savings from promotions.


Speaking of high-end models, the stage is almost set for Samsung to unveil its new line of premium smartphones, the Galaxy S23 series, at its first Unpacked launch event for 2023. The soon-to-be-announced flagships will be among the year’s first high-profile releases, and could perhaps set the tone for what you can expect to see from the smartphone industry this year.


Of course, if these brands don’t want to suffer from the same drop in shipments at the end of the year, they also have to attract consumers with specs and features they would want to spend money on.

 
  • Smartphone shipments fell 18.3% year over year last quarter, the largest drop ever, which saw about 300.3 million units shipped, according to market research group IDC.

  • That drop contributed to annual shipments falling 11.3% in 2022.

  • On the flip side, the drop could prove to be favourable for consumers as smartphone makers now have to find new ways to drive demand and boost sales.

  • So if you're in the market for a new smartphone, you can likely expect generous trade-in deals and bigger savings from promotions this year.

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