Smartphone shipments expected to drop again for Q1 2022

Samsung, Apple gain market share while everyone else loses amid economic uncertainty

For the smartphone industry, the first quarter of 2022 is looking like a repeat of Q1 2020, in which economic uncertainty triggered by world events led to a double-digit shipment slump. 

This time around, researchers at Canalys are projecting an 11 percent drop in shipments, rather than 13 percent, and the causes have shifted from being purely about COVID-19 to include the Russia-Ukraine war, rolling lockdowns in China, inflation, and the traditional dip due to slow seasonal demand. 

Despite all those uncertainties, Canalys's Sanyam Chaurasia said Apple and Samsung "accelerated their growth by broadening device portfolios for 2022." The iPhone 13 continues to be in demand, Chaurasia said, as does the iPhone SE, while Samsung has lured customers with new A and S-series flagship devices.

Of the top five smartphone vendors, Canalys's preliminary data (which is subject to change) finds Samsung's year-over-year Q1 market share up two points to 24 percent compared to Q1 2021, while Apple was up three points to 18 percent.

The rest of the top five - Chinese brands - posted losses in market share indicating shipments sent into the channel shrank. Things haven't been quite as easy for handset makers in the Middle Kingdom: supply chain constraints and sanctions have stymied growth. The market share for Xiaomi (13 percent), OPPO (including OnePlus, 10 percent), and Vivo (8 percent) declined.

Of those, Xiaomi and OPPO both lost a single percentage point of share, while Vivo dropped two. "Other" manufacturers, which includes everyone apart from the five aforementioned companies, also lost 1 percent of market share in Q1 2022.

Canalys is not yet able to publish vendors individual sales stats at this point.

Canalys' showed total smartphone shipment growth of 1 percent globally in 2021, but this new slump puts the market back in negative growth territory. The fact that biting chip shortages might not improve until next year or 2024 will not help.

That may spell bad news for some manufacturers on Canalys's list, but maybe not all: Xiaomi claimed its chip problems will end in the second half of 2022, with CEO Wang Xiang saying by Q3 and Q4 "we'll have a lot of supplies." ®

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