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The smartphone market shrunk 17% at the end of 2022

A new report reveals that the global smartphone market shrunk by a dramatic 17% year-on-year during the fourth quarter of 2022.

Canalys Research has issued a market report on the performance of the smartphone industry in 2022, and it doesn’t make for pretty reading. “Smartphone vendors have struggled in a difficult macroeconomic environment throughout 2022,” said Canalys Research Analyst Runar Bjørhovde. “Q4 marks the worst annual and Q4 performance in a decade.”

It wasn’t a great quarter for any smartphone maker, then, but Apple fared better than the rest. The iPhone maker reclaimed the top spot from Samsung with 25% of the market, compared to Samsung’s 20% share. That represents Apple’s highest quarterly market share ever.

Even so, it’s worth issuing the caveat here that the fourth quarter saw Apple launching its four-strong mainstream iPhone 14 line, while Samsung launched its more niche foldable duo, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4. Samsung’s bigger seller is likely to be the non-foldable Galaxy S23 line, which isn’t rolling out until next month.

Indeed, Samsung maintained its position as the world’s biggest smartphone maker across the whole of 2022, with 22% of the market to Apple’s 19%. Smartphone shipments more generally dropped 11% across the year to fewer than 1.2 billion units.

Despite these mixed fortunes and an overall drop in sales, this is still very much Apple’s and Samsung’s market. Third placed Xiaomi represented just 11% of the Q4 market and 13% of the overall smartphone market for 2022.

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