China’s smartphone sales plunged in 2022, dropping below 300 million units for the first time since 2013, Singapore-based market analysis firm Canalys said on Sunday.
According to the report, “mainland China’s smartphone market finished 2022 with an annual shipment of 287 million units,” down from 329 million in 2022, a year-on-year decrease of 14%.
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Vivo smartphone maker was the leader in sales volumes, with a market share of little over 18%, closely followed by HONOR and Apple. Vivo’s total shipments fell 27% year-on-year, however, while HONOR’s surged over 30%.
Apple was the third best-selling phone brand in 2022, and reached an all-time-high market share of 18% in China due to “aggressive promotions and demand in the high-end segment.”
Analysts say that sales were affected by strict Covid-19 controls, which resulted in inventory issues.
“Fortunately, most vendors started to normalize inventory levels during promotions in Q4,” Canalys Analyst Amber Liu said. He noted, however, that “vendors are still very cautious about the market in 2023.”
“The recovery of the consumer market is taking time as the effect of stimulus on the economy and demand may take 6 to 12 months to show. We expect the supply chain to finally stabilize in 2023 as the pandemic control policy is no longer in operation, and the overall smartphone market will likely grow slightly year-on-year as business activities and confidence return,” he stated.
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Another report by research firm IDC showed that the drop in smartphone sales in China reflected the global downward trend in the sector’s performance. According to IDC estimations, global smartphone shipments dropped more than 11% year-on-year in 2022, to 1.2 billion units.