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Apple Hits Best Fourth Quarter Global Smartphone Market Share Ever in Q4 2022

by Linda Sui | Feb 03, 2023

According to new research from TechInsights, global smartphone shipments fell -19% YoY to 296 million units in Q4 2022. Apple topped the global smartphone market with an impressive 24% share in Q4 2022, the highest fourth quarter smartphone market share ever for the company.  Samsung ranked in second place with 20% share, its highest fourth quarter performance since 2016. Xiaomi, OPPO (including OnePlus) and vivo stayed in the top five list.

Global smartphone shipments fell -19% YoY to 296 million units in Q4 2022. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of annual decline by smartphone volumes. Inventory adjustments, supply distribution from Covid and geopolitical issues adversely impacted the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, unfavorable economic conditions continued to weaken consumers’ demand for smartphones and other non-essential products.

We estimate Apple shipped 71.1 million iPhones and topped the global smartphone market with a record high 24% share in Q4 2022. Apple gained at at the expense of leading Chinese brands who were hampered by sluggish performance in both home and overseas markets. While it faced supply distribution issues in China in November and December, Apple still managed to beat many competitors and delivered solid results. Samsung ranked second and shipped 58.3 million units in Q4 2022, seizing 20% market share, its highest fourth quarter share since 2016. Demand tilted towards the low-cost A series. Meanwhile, Samsung remained the leader ahead of Apple in 2022 full year with 22% market share.

Xiaomi shipped 33.2 million smartphones and took third place with 11% global marketshare in Q4 2022, down from 12% one year ago. Xiaomi suffered from inventory corrections and underperformed other major Chinese brands and registered -26% annual decline rate this quarter. It yields the first spot to vivo in the Indian market in Q4 2022, for the first time ever. OPPO (OnePlus) held fourth spot and captured 10% global smartphone marketshare during Q4 2022. Vivo stayed fifth with 8% global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2022. OPPO (OnePlus) and Vivo both posted double digit annual decline rates and lost ground in most markets, as 4G and 5G competition intensified sharply in China and other markets.

Global competition among other major smartphone brands, beyond the top-five, was fierce during Q4 2022. Transsion, Honor, Realme, Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei ranked in the top ten but delivered mixed results this quarter. Transsion maintained sixth position and saw a healthy growth in Central Eastern Europe and Central Latin America, but overall smartphone shipments posted double digit annual decline rate this quarter due to soft performance in the Africa Middle East region where it lost the leading position to Samsung. Honor’s impressive resilient journey also hit a speed bump and as it saw annual decline due to the soft performance in China in Q4 2022. Realme registered double-digit annual decline and lost ground in all regions except Central Eastern Europe where it benefited from the industry reshuffle. Lenovo-Motorola stayed in the top ten list but also delivered an annual decline across multiple regions. Huawei in contrast posted an annual growth by smartphone shipment this quarter, mainly driven by healthy demand for 4G enable smartphones in China, such as Nova 10 series and Mate 50 models. However, the company’s outlook remains uncertain considering the rumored extended US sanctions on 4G, WiFi and AI related chipsets and technologies. Among top ten brands, there are eight Chinese brands. However, all these Chinese brands combined posted -23% annual decline, underperforming total market and the top two players.

We forecast global smartphone shipments will continue the downward track and fall -1% YoY in 2023. Geopolitical issues, economic downturn, energy shortages and price hikes, exchange rate volatility, and Covid caused disruption weakening consumer demand during the first half of 2023. Samsung and Apple will continue to outperform and remain in the top two places. Chinese brands need to stabilize the performance in China market and explore new growth engines to reverse their falling track.

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Shipments & Marketshare in Q4 2022 and 2022 [1]

[1]  Numbers are rounded.

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