Smartphone shipments drop to pandemic lows amid inflation, recession fears

The quarter to June saw a 9 per cent drop to roughly 290 million units shipped, with Chinese vendors leading the declines. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Global smartphone shipments fell to their lowest quarterly number in two years after consumer confidence was sapped by inflation and recession fears.

The quarter to June saw a 9 per cent drop to roughly 290 million units shipped, market trackers Canalys and Counterpoint said, with Chinese vendors leading the declines.

Market leader Samsung Electronics retained the top spot with about 62 million units, while Apple held second, followed by Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo. The Chinese trio each registered double-digit drops in shipments, with Xiaomi down 25 per cent, according to the data.

Prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing took a toll on domestic sales in China, while the wider market is now challenged by a glut of lower-priced devices and reluctant consumers, the analyst firms found.

"Supply chain shortages are no longer the most pressing issue as component orders are being cut rapidly and suppliers have started to be concerned about oversupply," Canalys analyst Toby Zhu wrote in a report.

"Geopolitical issues, a dip in consumer confidence and high inflation will continue to damage future market performance, despite upcoming new launches and festival sales in the second half of 2022."

Samsung downgraded its mobile market forecast for the second half of the year to either flat or slight growth, the South Korean company said after reporting earnings on Thursday (July 28).

The caution about weaker demand was echoed by Apple's post-earnings conference call, where chief executive officer Tim Cook pointed to macroeconomic headwinds, the sales pause in Russia and disruption in China for the poor performance of Apple Watch and Mac products in the quarter.

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