Apple iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22 win out - but smartphone market slides overall

Their flagship phones keep the top two ahead, but the smartphone market has some big problems ahead.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Getty Images/Crispin la valiente

Global smartphone shipments in Q2 2022 were at the lowest point since the pandemic struck in 2020, with 287 million units shipping in the quarter. 

According to new figures by Canalys, Samsung shipped 6% more smartphones than it did the same quarter a year ago, but it shipped 16% fewer smartphones than it did last quarter. Still, with 61.8 million smartphones shipped, it was the lead vendor this quarter with a 21% share, ahead of Apple, which shipped 48.5 million iPhones and had a 17% market share.  

"Despite 6% annual growth, Samsung's shipments fell 16% on the previous quarter as the vendor struggled with unhealthy inventory levels, especially in the mid-range," said Canalys research analyst Runar Bjørhovde. 

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Apple reported at its fiscal Q3 earnings last week that iPhone revenues were up 3% year on year to $40.67 billion, while Mac revenues were down 10% year on year to $7.38 billion, and iPad revenue was down 2% year on year to $7.22 billion. Even growth in Apple's previously fast-growing services business had fallen from 17% in Q2 to 12% this quarter.   

Apple chief Tim Cook told CNBC that it is seeing high costs in logistics, wages and certain silicon components. He noted that Apple was now hiring "on a deliberate basis".

Xiaomi was in third place with 39.6 million units in Q2 2022, while OPPO was in fourth spot with with 27.3, and Vivo was in fifth with 25.4 million units, according to Canalys. 

Canalys analyst Toby Zhu sees strange times ahead for the tech industry's supply chain problems: instead of shortages, vendors are now seeing the possibility of oversupply as weak demand sets in. 

"Supply chain shortages are no longer the most pressing issue as component orders are being cut rapidly and suppliers have started to be concerned about oversupply," said Zhu. 

"It has resulted in price cuts for key components, which reduces costs for vendors. Vendors could use the extra savings to improve the product competitiveness of new launches in the second half of the year. At the same time, that might make getting rid of old models even harder. The oversupply situation is demanding more of vendors' planning capabilities than the shortage period."

China and the global pattern

Canalys also reported shipments to mainland China fell 10% year on year in Q2 2022 to 67.4 million units. Key cities like Shanghai emerged from months-long COVID-19 lockdowns in early June, but the nation's "618" June 18 online-shopping event didn't have the impact it did in Q2 2021 – except for Apple. 

Apple shipped 9.9 million iPhones in the quarter and was in fifth place, with shipments growing 25% year on year. Honor was in second place with 13 million units shipped, representing 88% year-on-year growth. Vivo retained top spot with 13.2 million units shipped, but this was down 28% year on year. 

"Apple has been also enjoying resilient demand in the high-end segment, despite the severe lockdowns in its key cities. The vendor's active marketing during the promotional period has also been a key contributing factor," said Zhu. 

Cook said Apple saw sales in Chinese cities where lockdowns happened in Q1 rebound in June, in particular towards the end of the month in line with the 618 sales.   

Separately, Strategy Analytics reported that global smartphone shipments fell by 7% year on year to 291 million units in Q2 2022. It placed Samsung at the lead with 63 million units shipped leaving it with a 22% share. It said demand continued to remain strong for the newly launched flagship Galaxy S22 series, especially the higher-priced S22 Ultra model. Apple shipped 48 million iPhones, up 3% year on year, leaving it with 16% share. 

This is the highest second-quarter market share for Apple over the past 10 years, at the expense of leading Chinese brands that are hampered by sluggish performance in both home and overseas markets. Apple had a good quarter, led by the iPhone 13 series, which continued to ramp up volumes in US, China and other key markets.

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