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Canalys: Global smartphone sales shrank by double digits in Q1 2022

A traditionally slow quarter was further hindered by ongoing global economic and political turmoil.
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Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on

The latest research from Canalys shows that worldwide smartphones shipments fell 11%, year over year, for the first quarter of 2022. 

The measurement company placed the blame for this drop on "unfavorable economic conditions and sluggish seasonal demand." Nicole Peng, VP of Mobility at Canalys said the "global smartphone market was held back by an unsettled business environment in Q1." The exec pointed to factors such as COVID-19 case spikes brought on by the Omicron variant, the accompanying lockdowns in China, the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the specter of inflation

All of the above issues further compounded what is traditionally a slow quarter, Peng said. 

Despite the turmoil, both top contenders managed to scoop up additional market share. Samsung, which remained firmly in first place, took 24% of the market, up from 22% one year ago. Meanwhile, Apple's second-place stake grew to 18% from Q1 2021's 15%.

More: The best Samsung phones: Explore a new Galaxy

Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia called out the continued success of the iPhone 13 and the March launch of the iPhone SE as the main drivers for Apple's growth during the quarter. Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy A series continued to compete well in the "mid-to-low segment," helping its growth. 

The remainder of the top five for Q1 was accounted for by Chinese smartphone makers, with Xiaomi taking third at 13% (down from 14%), OPPO clinging to fourth at 10% (down from 11%) and Vivo rounding out the list in fifth at 8% (down from 10%). 

More: Xiaomi 12 Pro review: Top-notch screen and chipset, but battery life disappoints

Despite Q1 being a down quarter for most of the competition, Canalys framed Q2 as a good time to prepare for future rebounds. Nicole Peng noted that "vendors must equip themselves to respond quickly to emerging opportunities and risks while staying focused on their long-term strategic plans." 

She believes one of these opportunities may soon come in the form of the long-awaited easing of "the painful component shortages" all electronics makers have been dealing with since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

More: Here's what analysts expect from chip shortages in 2022

Canalys released a full analysis of Q1 2022 sales in its press release

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