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Smartphone shipments plunge most ever as buyers spend less

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.

January 26, 2023 / 09:59 AM IST
A customer tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S22 Ultra smartphone at the company's D'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Samsung Electronics will releases its preliminary fourth quarter earnings on July 7. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

A customer tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S22 Ultra smartphone at the company's D'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Samsung Electronics will releases its preliminary fourth quarter earnings on July 7. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

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.

Smartphone Gloom | All major brands suffered double-digit setbacks last quarter

“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.”