Global Smartphone Shipments Will Hit Lowest Point in a Decade, IDC Says

Global Smartphone Shipments Will Hit Lowest Point in a Decade, IDC Says

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Smartphone shipments are predicted to drop 4.7% globally this year, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation, which forecast 1.15 billion devices in 2023, the lowest volume in a decade.

In its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker data published Wednesday, IDC pointed to a weaker global economy and ongoing inflation as the cause for the drop. The 4.7% reduction is actually a downward revision of 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 are still cautious and are “yet again kicking the recovery can down the road.”

Measuring the number of phones sent from vendors to retailers, shipment numbers are not an exact equivalent to sales figures, but they can point to industry trends.

And if fewer customers are getting new phones, Popal said, retailers will need to lean into incentives, promotions and flexible financing options.

There may be a silver lining, though.

“As consumers hold onto their devices longer, the bright side is they are willing to pay more,”  Popal said. “Which will in turn help average selling prices to rise for the fourth consecutive year in 2023.”

The market intelligence firm also has rosier predictions for sales volume in 2024, forecasting 4.5% growth year-over-year.

Apple iPhone shipments to rise

Apple has weathered the slump considerably better than its competitors: While shipments of Androids are expected to decline 6% year over year, IDC expects shipments of the iPhone to actually increase by 1.1%, enabling iOS-driven devices to snag an all-time high market share of 19.9%.

“During a time when the entire market is struggling, it speaks volumes to once again see Apple going the opposite direction,” IDC vice president Ryan Reith said in a statement.

The iPhone 15 is expected to launch next month, which could help Apple snag the number one spot for global annual shipments for the first time.

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