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The big picture: The second quarter of 2022 solidified the end of the post-pandemic boom for multiple economic sectors. Global smartphones are no exception, according to the mobile phone tracker International Data Corporation (IDC), as last quarter's shipment numbers trended downward.
According to the IDC, the second quarter of 2022 saw smartphone shipments worldwide fall 8.7 percent year-over-year. This is the fourth consecutive quarter showing a decline in the market.
The IDC worldwide tracker team's research director, Nabila Popal, blames declining demand due to inflation and economic worries. During the pandemic, the industry's main problem was meeting increased demand amidst supply chain shocks. The situation now appears reversed, with stabilizing supply chains and sinking demand. However, Popal thinks that demand could merely be delayed, not gone.
In pure volume, the most consequential declines were in Asia. The biggest was in China, where shipments fell 14.3 percent compared to Q2 2021. There was also a 2.2 percent drop in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China), which represents half of all worldwide shipments.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest decline percentage-wise was in Central and Eastern Europe – 36.5 percent year-over-year, with the war in Ukraine being the obvious cause. Excluding Canada, all other regions experienced declines below 10 percent.
The same tracker also reported tablet and Chromebook shipments falling back to Earth that quarter. Chromebooks fell just over 50 percent year over year while the growth in tablet shipments flattened.
Continuing the trend, the NPD reported nearly $2 billion less spending (a 13 percent decline) on video games in the US in Q2 2022 compared to the same quarter last year. The mobile sector is what primarily drove the decline, but everything outside non-mobile subscriptions fell. Industry analyst Mat Piscatella, echoing Popal's remarks on the Smartphone sector, says inflation is one cause.
Big hardware companies are also feeling the impact. Intel reported losing half a billion dollars in this year's second quarter after a 22 percent year-over-year fall in revenue. The company blames decreasing demand for PCs and components.
Turning back to smartphones, sales revenue from iPhones rose 2.77 percent last quarter compared to the previous year despite industry-wide difficulties. Apple's sales division also grew 12.11 percent from the previous quarter. iPhone numbers will likely be stronger later this year as the company releases the iPhone 14.