Global smartphone market declined by 7% YoY to 328 million units in Q1 2022: Report

BL Mumbai Bureau | Updated on: May 03, 2022
Samsung was one of only two top-five smartphone brands that came close to their pre-pandemic Q1 shipments

Samsung was one of only two top-five smartphone brands that came close to their pre-pandemic Q1 shipments | Photo Credit: ViewApart

While component shortages are expected to ease soon, Russia-Ukraine war poses new challenge to smartphone market’s recovery

Amid ongoing component shortages, Covid resurgence at the beginning of the quarter and the Russia-Ukraine war, the global smartphone market declined by 7 per cent year-on-year with 328 million units shipped in Q1 2022, according to research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.

The global smartphone market also recorded a seasonal decline of 12 per cent QoQ.

Research Director Jan Stryjak said, “while component shortages are expected to ease soon, the Russia-Ukraine war poses a new challenge to the recovery of the global smartphone market.”

“In Q1 2022, the war had little impact on global smartphone shipments. Although Samsung and Apple withdrew from the Russian market in early March, the consequences are, at the moment, relatively small on a global scale. The two vendors make up around half of Russian smartphone shipments, but their combined shipments in Russia account for less than 2 per cent of total global smartphone shipments. However, the impact of the war may develop wider ramifications if it leads to a drop in availability of raw materials, a rise in prices, further inflationary pressure and/or other vendors withdrawing from Russia,” said Stryjak.

Samsung in the lead

Samsung shipped 74 million units in Q1 2022, down 3 per cent YoY. It was one of only two top-five smartphone brands that came close to their pre-pandemic Q1 shipments.

While the brand launched its flagships towards the end of February (a month later than last year) and at a price higher than the previous S21 series (despite lower BOM costs), customers responded well, driving a 7 per cent QoQ shipment growth, as per the report.

Apple’s global smartphone shipments remained flat compared to Q1 2021 at 59 million units in Q1 2022. 

Its shipments were driven by a strong demand for iPhone 13 series and the early launch of its first 5G-enabled SE Series, which helped push Apple’s market share to 18 per cent, up from 17 per cent in Q1 2021 in a contracting market.

The brand’s quarterly shipment decline of 28 per cent was primarily due to seasonality.

Xiaomi’s global smartphone shipments declined by 20 per cent YoY to 39 million units in Q1 2022 while its market share fell to 12 per cent from 14 per cent in the same quarter last year. 

“This was caused by the relatively weak performance of the Redmi 9A and 10S smartphones, along with chip shortages that are hurting Xiaomi more severely than other vendors,” the report said. 

“Xiaomi was also unable to benefit from the Chinese New Year shopping festival, with its share of the world’s biggest smartphone market falling to under 15 per cent (down from over 16 per cent both in the last quarter and in the same quarter of last year),” it added.

Oppo’s shipments declined by 19 per cent YoY and 9 per cent QoQ to 31 million units in Q1 2022 owing to supply-side constraints resulting from the ongoing component shortages.

“Being offline focused and with few new major recent launches, Oppo’s shipments were affected more acutely during the Omicron wave, especially in its key markets such as India,” the report said. Consequently, its market share fell to 9 per cent from 11 per cent in Q1 2021.

Vivo also declined by 19 per cent YoY and 3 per cent QoQ with its market share at 9 per cent in Q1 2022, down from 10 per cent in the same quarter last year. 

Similar to Oppo, Vivo has also been facing component shortages more severely since the end of last year.

“There has also been greater competition in the mass market, which is a key driver of Vivo’s shipment volumes. Therefore, despite performing well in China where it replaced Apple as the top smartphone brand, it saw a decline in global shipments,” the report said.

Senior Analyst Harmeet Singh Walia said, “The global smartphone market presented a mixed bag in the first quarter of 2022. Samsung seems to have overcome component shortages that affected its supply last year, as evidenced by higher-than-expected growth in its shipments despite a late flagship launch.”

“Major Chinese OEMs such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, meanwhile, faced a greater component supply crunch, resulting in their shipments falling by 20 per cent, 19 per cent and 19 per cent YoY respectively,” added Walia.

Other trends

Honor’s shipments increased by 148 per cent YoY to 16 million units in Q1 2022 as it continued rebuilding supplier relationships post its separation from Huawei.

The brand also recorded a 7 per cent QoQ shipment growth despite a seasonal contraction of the global smartphone market. 

Consequently, its market share rose to 5 per cent during the quarter, up from 4 per cent in the last quarter and 2 per cent in the same quarter last year. 

“It also did well in its home country of China where it is among the fastest-growing smartphone brands,” as per the report.

Realme shipped 14.5 million units in Q1 2022, up 13 per cent YoY. Its growth was driven by its expansion in overseas markets, especially in Europe where its shipments grew by 163 per cent YoY. 

“At the same time, its global shipments have declined by 30 per cent QoQ after a record quarter while its European shipments have taken a smaller hit of 7 per cent caused by the Russia-Ukraine war,” as per the report.

In India, it was the only brand among the top five players to experience YoY growth (40 per cent) in Q1 2022. It captured the third spot during the quarter.

Transsion Group, which includes Tecno, Infinix and itel, maintained its strong performance, recording a 23 per cent annual growth, driven primarily by Infinix, which grew by 76 per cent YoY and 4 per cent QoQ with its shipments increasing in India, the rest of Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa. Tecno’s shipments also increased by 28 per cent YoY while Itel fell by 3 per cent.

Published on May 03, 2022
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