According to IDC, Apple retained its position as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in terms of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2022. However, iPhone shipments were down 14.9% year-over-year.

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Global smartphone shipments fell in the fourth quarter of 2022 — typically the peak holiday shopping season — due to macroeconomic weakness and soft consumer demand, according to research firm IDC.

Electronics firms shipped 300.3 million smartphones in the October-December quarter, down 18.3% year-on-year, according to an IDC report released late Wednesday. The drop marks the largest single-quarter drop on record.

A total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, the lowest annual shipment total since 2013 “due to a significant decline in consumer demand, inflation and economic uncertainty,” according to IDC.

“We’ve never seen shipments in a holiday quarter lower than the previous quarter. However, weakened demand and high inventories have forced suppliers to cut supplies sharply,” said Nabila Popal, director of research at IDC.

Supplies represent devices that companies like an apple and Samsung send to retailers and mobile operators. They don’t equal sales, but they do show demand.

IDC said a “difficult approach to the year puts the expected 2.8% recovery in 2023 under serious threat, with a big downside risk to the outlook.”

Apple has maintained its position as the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world. The American technology giant shipped 72.3 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, down 14.9% year-on-year, according to IDC. Apple had a 24.1% market share. The drop came despite Apple releasing its latest models — the iPhone 14 series — ahead of the crucial holiday quarter.

Apple faced a number of supply chain issues in the December quarter after the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, was hit by a Covid outbreak and worker protests.

Samsung, the second-largest smartphone player, saw shipments drop 15.6% year-on-year to 58.2 million units. Samsung hasn’t released a new flagship smartphone for the fourth quarter, but it’s holding an event on February 1 where it’s likely to reveal its new device.

Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi, which ranked third, shipped 33.2 million units in the fourth quarter of the year, down 26.3% from last year. This is the biggest drop among the top five smartphone players, which also includes Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and Vivo.

“With 2022 down more than 11%, 2023 will be a year of caution as vendors review their device portfolios, while channels think twice before taking on excess inventory,” said Anthony Scarcella, research director at IDC . .

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