China witnessed a major drop in smartphone sales in 2022, the lowest in the last decade. The sales endured a 13 per cent drop as the country was dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and economic slowdown.
According to the Singapore-based market analysis firm Canalys report, for the first time since 2013, smartphone sales dropped below 300 million units in China. The country sold 286 million devices in 2022, down from 329 million in the previous year.
“The strict pandemic control policy has resulted in historically high household savings as consumer spending became conservative,” Lucas Zhong, from the research firm Canalys said.
Vivo emerged as the leader in terms of sales volumes, with a market share of over 18 per cent, closely followed by HONOR and Apple respectively. However, Vivo’s total shipments fell 25.1 per cent year-on-year. Interestingly, Apple’s market share reached an all-time high with 18 per cent of the overall sales, prompted by “aggressive promotions and demand in the high-end segment.”
“The recovery of the consumer market is taking time as the effect of stimulus on the economy and demand may take 6 to 12 months to show. We expect the supply chain to finally stabilize in 2023 as the pandemic control policy is no longer in operation, and the overall smartphone market will likely grow slightly year-on-year as business activities and confidence return,” Canalys Analyst Amber Liu said.
In 2022, stringent COVID-19 controls weighed heavily on the Chinese economy. Beijing started dismantling the curbs in December in order to boost consumption.
Annual global smartphone shipments last year fell to the lowest since 2013, according to a report by International Data Corporation. Additionally, despite the holiday season, smartphone shipments suffered the largest-ever single-quarter decline in the fourth quarter of 2022.