Smartphone shipments are expected to drop 4.7% globally this year, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation, which forecasts 1.15 billion devices in 2023, the lowest volume in a decade.
In its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker data released Wednesday, IDC pointed to weakness in the global economy and continued inflation as the causes of the drop. The 4.7% reduction is actually a downward revision to IDC’s original forecast of a 3.2% decline.
Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers team, said that while inventory levels have normalized, phone makers remain cautious and are “once again reigniting the recovery.” .
By measuring the number of phones sent from vendors to retailers, shipment figures are not an exact equivalent of sales figures, but they can indicate industry trends.
And if fewer customers acquire new phones, Popal said, retailers will have to rely on incentives, promotions and flexible financing options.
There may be a silver lining, however.
“As consumers keep their devices longer, the silver lining is that they’re willing to pay more,” Popal said. “Which will allow average selling prices to increase for the fourth consecutive year in 2023.”
The market intelligence firm also has a more optimistic forecast for sales volume in 2024, predicting 4.5% year-over-year growth.
Apple iPhone shipments will increase
Apple withstood the crisis considerably better than its competitors: while shipments of Androids expected to decline 6% year-over-year, IDC expects iPhone shipments to actually increase 1.1%, helping iOS devices land a record market share of 19.9 %.
“At a time when the entire market is struggling, it’s saying a lot to see Apple once again take the opposite direction,” Ryan Reith, vice president of IDC, said in a statement.
The iPhone 15 is expected to launch next month, which could help Apple land the top spot in annual global shipments for the first time.