Global Smartphone Shipments Set to Slump by 9% in 2022

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NEEDHAM, Mass.—An updated forecast for the worldwide smartphone market from International Data Corporation (IDC) is showing a larger decline in global smartphone shipments, with IDC projecting that global shipments will decline by 9.1% in 2022, a reduction of 2.6 percentage points from the previous forecast, to about 1.24 billion units in 2022. 

While a recovery of 2.8% is still anticipated in 2023, IDC did reduce its 2023 smartphone forecast by roughly 70 million units, given the ongoing economic worries and their impact on demand, the researchers said. 

"We believe the global smartphone market will remain challenged through the first half of 2023, with hopes that recovery will improve around the middle of next year and growth across most regions in the second half," said Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "Rising costs are an obvious concern for the smartphone market and adjacent consumer technology categories, but we believe most of this reduced demand will be pushed forward and will support global growth in late 2023 and beyond. A device refresh cycle continues to build in many challenged emerging markets while developed markets have offset rising costs with increased promotional activity, more attractive trade-in offers, and extended financing plans. This has supported growth in the high-end of the market despite the economic headwinds."

5G continues to build out globally and will account for just over half of smartphones shipped worldwide in 2022, rising to 80% by 2026.

In addition, market momentum continues to build around foldable phones. While this category is only about 1-2% of the global market in 2022, it still accounts for roughly 15-16 million smartphones. This number will only grow as costs decrease and more OEMs get behind the form factor transition, IDC said. 

IDC is also predicting that global shipments of Android phones will grow by 3.1% to 1,036.9 million units in 2023 and hit 1,145.7 million by 2026.

Shipments of phones using Apple iOS will increase by 1.3% to 233.5 million units in 2023 and grow to 247.5 million by 2026

"Despite the market slowdown, average selling prices (ASPs) continue to grow as consumers opt for premium devices that can last three to four years as refresh rates elongate in both developed and emerging markets," said Anthony Scarsella, research director with IDC's Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "Smartphone ASPs are expected to grow for the third consecutive year as average selling prices will reach $413, up 6.4% from $388 in 2021. The last time the market witnessed ASPs surpass $400 was in 2011 ($425), when the market displayed over 60% shipment growth. Moreover, iOS unit share will reach 18.7% (the highest of any forecast year), which is a driving force behind the high ASP growth we currently see in 2022."

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.