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CCS Insight: Smartphone sales to rise just 2.9pc this year

Paul Lipscombe
May 3, 2022

The industry is still battling to hit the pre-pandemic levels

Global mobile phone shipments are set to grow by just 2.9 per cent in 2022 to 1.64 billion devices, according to CCS Insight.

The analyst firm blames the muted recovery after a challenging 2021 on a number of factors, including the war in Ukraine leading to a rise in the cost of living.

Some 1.59 billion phones were sold last year, just slightly up from the 1.58 billion shipments in 2020 when the pandemic was in full swing. That figure was down from the pre-pandemic level of 1.81 billion in 2019.

While CCS Insight does expect the availability of components to recover this year, despite the impact of recent Chinese lockdowns (see page 10), this recovery comes at a time when consumers may also look to spend less.

CCS expects smartphones to comprise 1.39 billion of the devices sold this year, with 5G-enabled phones accounting for 709 million shipments – or 43 per cent of the overall market.

“Although supply conditions may remain volatile during 2022, improvements are expected throughout the year in time for the holiday fourth quarter,” said CCS Insight senior analyst James Manning Smith.

“However, manufacturers now face weak consumer demand thanks to a difficult economic environment and potential challenges from the wave of Chinese lockdowns. A worsening economic outlook for 2022 is

expected to produce a third year of weak sales since 2020, reducing demand for mobile phones in both advanced and developing markets.”

As a result of the war in Ukraine, smartphone sales are expect to drop by 15 per cent in Eastern Europe this year, adds Manning Smith, with a “knock-on effect of limiting recovery in Western Europe”.

2023 growth

The outlook for 2023 is more positive, with CCS Insight predicting that the mobile phone market will grow by 3.8 per cent next year.

Shipments are not, however, anticipated to exceed pre-pandemic levels until at least the middle of the decade.

This rise will be driven by growth in India and other emerging markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, says the analyst firm.

“For some people, the aspiration of buying a mobile phone for the first time has been delayed but not lost, and we hope to see this reflected in a further wave of adoption over the next five years,” said Manning Smith.

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