The release of quarterly reports from Apple and Samsung allowed Counterpoint Research analysts to summarize the results of the last year in terms of smartphone market dynamics. Overall, it fell to 1.2 billion copies, its lowest level since 2013, but Apple managed to become the market leader in terms of shipments, revenue and operating profit.
In a quarterly event report yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that last quarter’s crisis phenomena had minimally impacted demand for the iPhone among other product categories of the brand, and if it weren’t for production disruptions in Zhengzhou, then following last quarter’s results Apple would have a chance to increase revenue from smartphone sales.
Back to research counterpoint research, the following points should be noted. In the fourth quarter, smartphone shipments fell 18% year over year to 304 million units, while Apple managed to oust Samsung from its position as the largest supplier. Across the board, smartphone shipments rose 1% in the fourth quarter, but this still led the market to its lowest volumes for the season since late 2013. For all of last year, smartphone shipment volume is down 12% to 1.2 billion units, the lowest since 2013.
In terms of revenue, the smartphone market hit its lowest level since 2017 in 2022, falling 9% to $409 million. According to Counterpoint Research, this was due to consumer desire to buy new smartphones less frequently amid macroeconomic uncertainty to buy problems. All five market leaders reduced their smartphone shipments by double-digit percentages last quarter. In this regard, Apple cannot even be called a sustainability leader, as it reduced shipments by 14% in the fourth quarter, while OPPO managed to limit itself to 13%. In terms of the drop rate, Samsung ranked third (16%), followed by vivo (20%) and Xiaomi (26%) dropped the most.
The dynamics of the decline in sales of market participants was not so dramatic, as demand in the upper price segment fell less sharply. Significantly, the turnover of all market participants at the end of the year fell by a total of 9% and the average selling price even increased by 5%. This partially offset the 12% decrease in shipments.
Apple was the leader in the number of smartphones shipped at the end of the year with an 18% share, in terms of sales it generally updated the historical record with a share of 48% and in terms of operating income it reached a historical maximum of 85% of the market. This indicates that Apple’s smartphone business remains economically viable even under difficult market conditions.
Buyers are willing to pay more for devices they can use longer, and the trend is also noticeable in the Android smartphone segment. That allowed Samsung to grow revenue by 1% in an environment where smartphone shipments fell 5% and operating profit fell 1%. Its older smartphones sold better than expected. In terms of the operating result, the market share could even be expanded to 12%.
Counterpoint Research experts summarized that so far the Chinese brands Xiaomi, OPPO (OnePlus) and vivo have not managed to conquer a strong position in the premium segment and see the benefits of weakening Huawei after the US sanctions. According to analysts, the smartphone market as a whole will remain under macroeconomic pressure until the middle of this year and will then recover.