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According to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker forecast, shipments of smartphones will decline 3.5% to 1.31 billion units in 2022. After three consecutive quarters of decline and increasing challenges in both supply and demand, IDC has significantly reduced its forecast for 2022 from the previous projection of 1.6% growth. However, IDC expects this to be a short term set back as the market rebounds to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.9% through 2026.
"The smartphone industry is facing increasing headwinds from many fronts – weakening demand, inflation, continued geo-political tensions, and ongoing supply chain constraints. However, the impact of the China lockdowns – which have no clear end in sight – are far greater," said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "The lockdowns hit global demand and supply simultaneously by reducing demand in the largest market globally and tightening the bottleneck to an already challenged supply chain. As a result, many OEMs cut back orders for this year, including Apple and Samsung. However, Apple appears to be the least impacted vendor due to greater control over its supply chain and because the majority of its customers in the high-priced segment are less influenced by macroeconomic issues like inflation. Barring any new setbacks, we expect these challenges to ease by the end of this year and the market to recover in 2023 with 5% growth."
"The ongoing semiconductor supply issues will ease up in the second half of 2022. On the SoC side, 4G SoC supply has been tight, but the market continues to shift towards 5G SoCs," said Phil Solis, research director in IDC's Enabling Technologies and Semiconductors team. "The bigger problem has been the tight supply of components such as PMICs, display drivers, and discrete Wi-Fi chips. Capacity is being increased for these semiconductors that are made in higher process nodes and newer versions of Wi-Fi chips are being made with newer process nodes. At the same time, demand is dropping. Combined, these supply and demand changes will put the market more in equilibrium."
From a regional view, the largest decline in 2022 is expected in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) with shipments down 22%. China is forecast to decline 11.5% or roughly 38 million units, which is about 80% of the global reduction in shipment volume this year. Western Europe is expected to decline 1% while most other regions will see positive growth this year, including Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) (APeJC) with 3% growth, the second largest region after China.
5G devices are expected to grow 25.5% year over year in 2022 and account for 53% of new shipments with nearly 700 million devices and an average selling price (ASP) of $608. Volume expectations for this year were brought down significantly due to increased channel inventory of 5G products in China and the overall reduction in the market forecast. In the long term, 5G is expected to reach a volume share of 78% in 2026 with an ASP of $440. In contrast, the 4G ASP is expected to be $170 in 2022, dropping to $113 by the end of the forecast period. There has been a slight increase in the ASPs in the short term across all devices due to shortages and the rising costs of components and logistics. However, the trend will remain downwards over the long term. Smartphone ASP will decline from $402 in 2022 to reach $366 in 2026.