The bad news continues to roll in for device manufacturers, as global smartphone shipments for the calendar quarter fell to their lowest quarterly rate in eight years.
According to preliminary data compiled by Canalys, sales at the channel — both retailers and distributors — fell 9 percent year over year to an estimated 296.21 million phones.
The relatively bleak economic outlook has caused consumers to put off electronic devices and instead direct household spending on essential goods and services.
“The smartphone market is highly reactive to consumer demand and vendors are quickly adapting to tough business conditions,” said Amber Liu, an analyst at Numbers Analytics.
For most sellers, the priority is to reduce the risk of inventory build-up as demand deteriorates. Sellers had large inventories in July, but sales gradually improved from September due to strong discounts and promotions.
She added, “The pricing strategy for new products has been carefully designed, even for Apple, to avoid any significant pushback from consumers who now tend to be very sensitive to any price hike.”
Demand is not expected to improve anytime soon with a slowdown expected until the second half of next year. As such, smartphone brands work with their distributors and resellers on “judicious production expectations,” according to Canales.
Can shoppers expect some heavy promotions over the winter holidays? Sanyam Chaurasia, another market observer at Canalys, said he expects a lot of activity.
“With sales season approaching, consumers who delay purchases can expect deep discounts and bundling promotions as well as deep price cuts on older generation devices.”
The preliminary data includes market share numbers for each of the five largest smartphone vendors but not actual shipment numbers, indicating that only Apple posted year-over-year growth in the third quarter.
According to estimates, Samsung sold 65.16 million phones, down more than 4 percent and giving it a market share of 22 percent. Apple grew 9.2 percent to 53.3 million. Xiaomi’s shipments were flat and OPPO and Vivo both declined.
However, the latest showing in the smartphone segment looks relatively glorious compared to the PC market, where shipment volumes fell 19.5 percent in the third quarter of 2022, the fastest decline since Gartner began counting the number of boxes sent to the channel. ®