Global smartphone shipments suffered their worst quarterly drop on record in a clear sign of cooling consumer demand that signals more pain for manufacturing hubs like South Korea and Vietnam.
Shipments declined 18.3% in the December quarter compared to a year earlier, to a little over 300 million units, Needham, Massachusetts-based IDC said Thursday. For the year, shipments fell 11.3% and marked the lowest total for a decade, the researchers said.
“We have never seen shipments in the holiday quarter come in lower,” Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, said in a press release. Along with inflation and economic uncertainties, Covid lockdowns in China were another factor that hurt the industry, including sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, she said. “Heavy sales and promotions during the quarter helped deplete existing inventory rather than drive shipment growth.”