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Global smartphones sales still in a slump – who are the winners and losers

Global smartphone shipments are still stuck in a rut with figures down 12.7 per cent from last year – and Samsung has taken one of the biggest hits while Apple remains steady.

In the first quarter of 2023 there were 268.5 million units shipped according to the Omdia smartphone preliminary shipment report.

That’s a year on year decline of 12.7 per cent and 11.1 per cent down from the previous quarter.

Two of the biggest manufacturers, Samsung and Xiaomi saw the biggest declines at 18.3 per cent and 22 per cent respectively year on year.

But despite the year on year slump, Samsung still recorded the most shipments in Q1 2023 with 60 million.

This is a 3.2 per cent rise compared to the previous quarter’s shipments, but it fell short of the rise it had seen in previous quarters with its annual Galaxy S release.

Samsung remains number one but its lead over Apple has shrunk.

In Q1 2022 Samsung had 18 million more shipments than Apple while in Q1 2023 that lead has dropped to just three million units.

And as a result Samsung’s market share has also fallen from 24 per cent to 22 per cent.

Apple had its usual spike in the fourth quarter of 2022 but since then shipments have gone back to their normal levels.

Apple recorded 57 million shipments in Q1 2023, 23.5 per cent lower from the previous quarter but a 0.1% increase from the same quarter in 2022.

Apple actually increased its market share year on year but cause all other OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) shipment levels had dropped.

Apple increased its market share from 18 per cent in Q1 2022 to 21 per cent in Q1 2023.

“Due to production disruptions at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant in December of last year, Apple was unable to supply the necessary quantities for the most important sales season, Christmas, and the end of the year,” said Jusy Hong, Senior Research Manager at Omdia.

“As a result, some of Apple’s production was carried over to the first quarter of this year.

“In order to clear inventory in major markets such as China, early this year, the company conducted a promotion to lower the selling price of the new iPhone.

“This resulted in year-on-year growth rate of shipments in 1Q to perform relatively better compared to other OEMs.

“Apple’s price promotion of the new iPhone in the first quarter is very unusual. This seems to be a strategy to lower inventory to prepare for the sluggish smartphone market expected in the first half of this year.”

“Among the newly released iPhone 14 series, the Pro Max sales volume was the highest, followed by the Pro model.”

Xiaomi is in third place and recorded 31 million shipments in Q1 2023 which is a 22 per cent drop year on year and an 8.1 per cent fall quarter on quarter.

Other Chinese OEMs Oppo and Vivo also dropped but not as much as Xiaomi with falls of 2.2 per cent and 11.2 per cent respectively

Oppo recorded 27 million shipments in Q1 2023 with Vivo recording 21 million in the same quarter.