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Qualcomm predicts big drop in smartphone sales

American chip maker Qualcomm has released a gloomy appraisal of the smartphone business in 2022, predicting a decline in sales of at least 10%.

The company, which is uniquely placed as the key chip supplier for much of the smartphone industry, addressed the subject as part of its recent earnings release.

According to Qualcomm (via The Verge), “the uncertainty caused by the macroeconomic environment” has led it to downgrade its projected smartphone sales for the year from a “mid-single-digit percentage decline, to a low double-digit percentage decline”.

Another interesting snippet of information is that the industry appears to have gone from worries over shortages to a troublesome glut. Thanks to the combination of a “rapid deterioration in demand” and “easing of supply constraints” in the industry, Qualcomm revealed that its “largest customers” – likely to include Samsung and Apple – were “drawing down on their inventory”.

In other words, because demand is down and supply issues have been at least partially addressed, there are now loads of smartphones sat in factories and on shop shelves.

We’ve reported previously on suggestions that Apple had reduced its supply order for the new iPhone 14 line amidst disappointingly low demand. Samsung, for its part, is said to be looking to the emerging foldables market to help give its sales a shot in the arm.

Google itself is said to be a little concerned at sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S range, with customers said to be slipping over to the iPhone. The Android maker’s own Pixel line is said to be selling well, but then it’s starting from a much lower point than both Apple and Samsung.

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