Samsung keeps the top spot in global smartphone sales, but the overall category drops


Smartphone sales have been a category that many follow with keen interest. For the most part, Apple and Samsung have been trading places at the top of the smartphone sales charts for years. There have been others in the top 5, but these two are usually #1 and #2.

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This year has seen smartphone sales hit their lowest point since the whole COVID-19 insanity started. Canalys reports that smartphone shipments are down 9% in Q2, and demand is falling. Samsung still holds the top spot with 61.8 million smartphones shipped, and Apple is holding fast to second place with 49.5 million iPhones shipped. It’s important to note that Canalys uses the term “shipped,” not sold, so smartphone sales may be less than what shipped. Xiaomi pulled into the #3 spot with 39.6 million units shipped, and OPPO/VIVO took the last two slots in the top five with 27.3 and 25.4 million units shipped.

Canalys reported a brief recovery of smartphone sales in 2021, but Q2 of 2022 has not been good. Given the current inflation and recession the United States is experiencing, it’s no wonder that sales have been impacted. But other things may be in play as well. Smartphones have improved, and perhaps users are okay holding on to their older handsets for a more extended period. The rise of budget and mid-tier smartphones may also be playing a role.

“The global smartphone market is suffering a second period of falling shipments after a brief recovery in 2021, and the sudden drop in demand is hitting the leading vendors,” said Canalys Research Analyst Runar Bjørhovde. “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. Samsung is pushing aggressive pricing strategies and heavy promotions for its low-end A series, leveraging the cost-effective ODM production to stimulate consumer demand in the mass market. In the premium segment, Samsung stressed its focus on foldable phones and the S series as profit drivers in developed markets. Meanwhile, solid demand for the iPhone 13 series in North America, China and Europe enabled Apple to grow despite the headwinds. The high end has proven relatively resilient during the recession, while promotions and financing options have helped with affordability.”

“The major Chinese vendors managed to stabilize their worldwide performance compared with last quarter despite another round of double-digit year-on-year contractions,” said Toby Zhu, Canalys Analyst. “We have seen the top Chinese players focus on very different strategic priorities during the downturn. Xiaomi is ambitious to expand its high-end portfolio in China through its latest partnership with Leica, with new products hitting the market in Q3. It has also been adjusting product upgrade cycles to speed up launches in the mass market, leveraging its supply chain capabilities. OPPO managed a steady performance in Europe in Q2, with a year-on-year market share increase, thanks to its significant investment in sponsorships and, more recently, driving sustainability awareness, which has helped to raise its brand profile. On the other hand, vivo is adopting a highly cautious yet consistent expansion strategy, with a particular focus on building in-house hardware differentiation, such as ISP chips and cameras. In Q2, the vendor grew steadily in Latin America while recovering its market position in the highly competitive APAC market.”

Samsung keeps the top spot in global smartphone sales, but the overall category drops

Be sure to check out Canaly’s full report on their website to find out more. It will be interesting to see how businesses cope with inflation and the recession hitting many in the world today.

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