Global smartphone demand drops as economic woes hit

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The global smartphone market had its worst third quarter since 2014 as economic headwinds pushed consumers to delay discretionary purchases like personal electronics.

Shipments of smartphones around the world fell 9 percent in the three months ended September, extending a decline that’s lasted the entirety of 2022, according to market research firm Canalys.

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The downward trend in demand is likely to continue for a further nine months, Canalys added.

Interest rate hikes and rising energy prices have dampened consumer appetites this year, with China’s economic slowdown and COVID-19 lockdowns playing a key role in sapping momentum for smartphone sales.

Domestic players like Xiaomi Corp., Vivo and Oppo have all registered double-digit drops in sales this year, with only Apple Inc.’s iPhone showing resilience in the market.

Samsung Electronics Co., which lacks a significant presence in China, held on to its leading global position with 22 percent of the market, aided by heavy discounts and promotions, the data showed. Apple, whose iPhone 14 series went on sale in September, grew its share to 18 percent while Oppo and Vivo both saw smaller shares than last year.

“Going into the sales season, consumers who have been delaying purchases will expect steep discounts and bundling promotions as well as significant price reductions,” Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia said. “Compared to the strong demand period of the previous year, a slow but steady festive sale is anticipated in the fourth quarter.”

Although Apple was the main winner of market share in the third quarter, it has ditched plans to increase production of its iPhone 14 product family, Bloomberg News reported last month.

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