Historic Drop in Smartphone Sales in 2022… What’s Going On?

smartphone sales in 2022

Smartphone sales in 2022 have plummeted at an alarming rate worldwide: worst figures in history and drops we haven’t seen since 2013. In this article, we analyze the causes and consequences for consumers.

What happened to smartphone sales in 2022? 

According to Canalys, 43.7 million fewer smartphones were shipped in Q4 2022 in comparison with the same period of 2021. This means a 17% drop in smartphone sales worldwide, i.e.: the biggest drop in the history of the smartphone industry.

But that’s not all. Smartphone sales have been plummeting for six years. In 2022, fewer than 1.2 billion devices were sold. We have to go all the way back to 2013 to see a similar record.

smartphone sales in 2022 - canalys
Source: Canalys

Which smartphone manufacturers have lost the most sales in 2022?

Comparing Q4 2022 to the same period in 2021…

  • Xiaomi falls by 27%, they sold 12.2 million fewer phones
  • Samsung falls by 17%, they sold 12.2 million fewer phones
  • Vivo and OPPO fall by 16%, they sold 4.6 million and 5.3 million fewer phones, respectively
  • Apple falls by 11%, with 9.4 million fewer iPhones sold
smartphone sales in 2022 - xiaomi samsung vivo oppo iphone
Source: Canalys

Why have smartphone sales dropped that much in 2022?

According to IDC, this monumental drop is due to falling demand among smartphone consumers, caused by rising inflation worldwide and uncertainty about the global economy caused by political conflicts.

In addition, several manufacturers have experienced problems in their production chains, and supply shortages in components to manufacture their smartphones. Most notably Apple, which saw production at its Shenzhen plants shut down as a result of a coronavirus outbreak, affecting production of the iPhone 14 Pro.

What are consumers doing about it?

The market of cell phones is changing. The average consumer no longer demands (or rather, can no longer demand) the purchase of a new, latest model smartphone every year.

It is for this reason that people are trying new acquisition alternatives, such as cell phone leasing, i.e. renting the latest models in exchange for a monthly fee, or even buying and selling smartphones on the second-hand market.

The latter option is undoubtedly experiencing its golden age. According to a study by IDC, 332.9 million used cell phones will be sold in 2023.

If you are thinking of buying a used cell phone, at doctorSIM we recommend that, before purchasing it, you check the device in order to avoid nasty surprises after the purchase. For these checks, you will only need to know the IMEI code of the device (you can ask the seller for it; if he does not give it to you, be suspicious). For example, you can check if the smartphone is still under warranty, or if it has been blacklisted because it was stolen, lost or unpaid.

More alternatives to save money…

Other increasingly popular alternatives for consumers around the world who want to save on their phone bills are switching to a low-cost carrier or even to a prepaid phone so that they only pay for what they need.

Remember: if you are switching carriers and want to continue using the phone you purchased under contract, you may need to unlock it so you can use it with another SIM card. 

And, of course, if you are thinking of switching to a prepaid phone or you are already using one, you can’t miss our airtime and data top-up service. We have the best promotions, always at the best price and with the best service in the market and you can send credit or data to any number anywhere in the world. Have you tried it yet?

Read more: Unlock your phone easy and cheap to find the best rate, Here’s why more and more people prefer to buy phone credit online


Unlock your phone! Save on your Wireless Bill! Reclaim Your Freedom! doctorSIM is an 8 year old company specialized in wireless freedoms solutions. We provide unlocking and saving solutions for individuals, SMEs, as well as large corporations with TEM requirements!

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