Smartphone users in Tokyo: people have been using their devices for more than 40 months
KIM KYUNG-HOON/ REUTERS
In the fourth quarter, smartphone shipments fell by 18.3 percent compared to the same period last year.
This is the result of preliminary figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to this, 300 million devices arrived from the manufacturers in the retail trade and with the mobile phone companies, for the whole year there were 1.2 billion.
According to a market research report published this week, these are the lowest numbers since 2013.
The analysts cite »significantly dampened consumer demand, inflation and economic uncertainties« as reasons.
They do not see a possible recovery until the end of the current year.
Consumers in most major markets would now use their smartphones for more than 40 months on average, i.e. almost three and a half years, before they buy new devices.
For comparison: in 2019, they replaced their devices after around two years on average.
The IDC report makes no mention of increasing environmental awareness as a reason for this.
The longer service life compared to before can therefore be explained more for purely economic reasons.
The IDC considers it possible that the hardware manufacturers will make more generous exchange and upgrade offers in order to increase sales of high-end devices in particular.
At the same time, they are likely to "reconsider their portfolios," says the report, possibly reducing their offerings or renewing them less frequently.
During boom times, manufacturers such as Sony started introducing new top models every six months.
According to the report, the biggest losers in the past year were Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.
The three Chinese manufacturers delivered between almost 20 and almost 23 percent fewer smartphones than in 2021. At Apple and Samsung, the numbers only fell by around four percent.
In the fourth quarter, however, the two market leaders also had to cope with declines of just under and slightly over 15 percent.
At Apple, this is due, among other things, to the lockdowns of factories in China, where the group has iPhones produced.
Apple is now trying to relocate parts of the production to India.