iPhone Shipments Suffered Double-Digit Drop Over Holiday Quarter, Says IDC
Worldwide smartphone shipments suffered their worst quarterly drop on record over the holiday period, according to IDC, and Apple was not immune to the cooling consumer demand amid the global economic downturn.
The research firm estimates that Apple shipped 72.3 million iPhones in the December quarter, down year-on-year from 85 million units, representing a 14.9% drop in shipments compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Other major smartphone brands suffered similar double-digit setbacks. Samsung's shipments fell by 15.6% year-on-year, and Chinese mobile makers OPPO and vivo suffered almost equivalent declines, with Xiaomi performing worst over the quarter with a 26.3% drop in shipments.
Overall, global smartphone shipments declined 18.3% in the December quarter compared to a year earlier, to a little over 300 million units. The drop marks the largest-ever decline in a single quarter and contributed to a steep 11.3% decline for the year.
"We have never seen shipments in the holiday quarter come in lower," Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, said in a press release. "However, weakened demand and high inventory caused vendors to cut back drastically on shipments."
In addition to inflation and economic uncertainties, lockdowns in China were another factor that hurt the industry, including Apple's iPhone shipments, she said. "Heavy sales and promotions during the quarter helped deplete existing inventory rather than drive shipment growth."
Riots broke out in late November at the world's largest iPhone factory in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, where Foxconn workers were unhappy with Covid restrictions and unpaid bonuses. iPhone production at the factory in Zhengzhou was said to have been significantly affected by the protests, leading to lengthy shipping delays over the holiday period.
According to IDC, 2022 ended with global smartphone shipments of 1.21 billion units, which represents the lowest annual shipment total since 2013 due to significantly dampened consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties.
Despite the difficult holiday period, Apple's market share remained steady, and the company maintained its position as the top smartphone maker for the December quarter with 24.1% market share, up 1% from a year ago. For the year, Apple reached 18.8% market share compared to 17.3% the previous year, coming second only to Samsung, which took 21.6% market share in 2022 compared to 20% over 2021, according to IDC estimates.