Global smartphone production slowed by 11% in Q3-2022, heralding tough times ahead for the industry

With the exception of big names like Apple and Samsung, most smartphone makers are reporting double-digit sales declines, with the gradual curbing of production merely a stopgap measure that may not keep some of the smaller or less adaptable players out of bankruptcy in the face of adverse economic conditions.

According to data signed by analyst firm Trendforce, global smartphone device production fell 11% in Q3-2022 compared to the similar period last year, with shipments estimated at 289 million units for the July-September period. Trendforce blames weak sales in previous quarters, resulting in excessive inventories of products for which not enough buyers can be found.

Factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war, political tensions between China and the US, and the global economic slowdown have affected smartphone sales since the second quarter of this year. Companies began cutting production as early as Q2. The latest Trendforce report shows that production remained almost at the same level in Q2 and Q3.

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In terms of sellers, Samsung remains the market leader with a total production of 64.2 million units. Despite a flat trend seen in the rest of the industry, the South Korean manufacturer shipped more smartphones in Q3 than in Q2. Admittedly, this is a minor increase of 3.9%, reported after a significant reduction in production in the previous quarter. As for the period ahead, expectations are that Samsung will lose its top position in the year-end rankings to rival Apple. In fact, this is a trend seen almost every year, with Apple having its highest sales during the winter holiday season.

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Trendforce estimates Samsung’s market share will fall from 22.2% to 20.2% in Q4, while Apple could rise from 17.6% to 24.6%. The iPhone maker’s gains could also hit Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo sales. Although they will retain their third, fourth and fifth place in the global market respectively, the three Asian brands will see sales fall year-on-year.

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