Global smartphone shipment decline slows as manufacturers see return to growth

News, Smartphones

The latest Omdia smartphone preliminary shipment report shows that mobile phone shipments totaled 301.6 million units in 3Q23 – a 0.7% decrease compared to 3Q22.

Compared to the previous quarter, though, it is a 13.4% increase. For the first time this year, half of the top ten major smartphone manufacturers including Apple, Xiaomi, Transsion Holdings Group, Honor and Huawei saw growth. 

This marks the ninth consecutive quarter of year-on-year declines in overall smartphone shipments, coming after the period of strong smartphone demand seen over the COVID-19 pandemic between 4Q20 and 3Q21.

The market has not been able to keep pace with that expansion as a range of challenges have rocked the industry and global economy, from production problems in China to high inflation shrinking consumer confidence and demand.

Samsung still had the most shipments in 3Q23, reporting 58.8 million shipments – a 10.3% increase from the dip we saw in 2Q23. This is not enough to reach shipment levels seen in 2022, though, with an 8.2% fall compared to 3Q22. As a result of this fall, and the good performance seen by many other brands, Samsung’s market share fell two percentage points from 21% in 3Q22 to 19% in 3Q23.

Apple has quickly recovered from the decline it saw in 2Q23, seeing a 23.6% increase quarter-on-quarter and 2.3% year-on-year with 53.4 million units. Tim Cook said that Apple recorded a September quarter revenue record for iPhone in the earning calls today. As such, Apple’s market share increased to 18% in 3Q23, up from 16% in the previous quarter.

Says Jusy Hong, Senior Research Manager at Omdia:

“In China, Apple’s main market, the sales situation for the new iPhone has become difficult due to the launch of Huawei’s new 5G flagship smartphones and political issues. Nevertheless, Apple’s shipments in the fourth quarter and overall this year are expected to increase compared to last year due to the steady increase in premium demand.”

Xiaomi’s market share is recovering after an extended period of falling shipments. In 3Q23, it saw 41.5 million shipments, a 25.0% increase from the previous quarter and a 2.5% increase from the past year. It has managed to retain and strengthen its position as the third largest OEMs globally, facing off stiff competition from other Chinese OEMs Oppo, vivo, and increasingly, Transsion Holdings.

Oppo Group, which includes both the Oppo and OnePlus brand, recorded 26.6 million shipments in 3Q23. This is an 8.6% fall from the past year, meaning it is one of smartphone OEMs which has not yet started to recover, such as Xiaomi and Apple, as it is still grappling with the challenging market 2023 has thrown up.

Honor has continued its sustained growth throughout 2023, bucking the trend as seen by many of its competitors. It recorded 15.8 million unit shipments in 3Q23, 1.6 million or 11.3% more than 3Q22. Despite this growth, it’s very unlikely that Honor will reach the same shipment levels in 2023 as 2022, due to the large dip in shipments it saw in 1Q23. Thus far this year, it has shipped 41 million units, compared to 45 million in the same period between 1Q22 to 3Q22 – a 7.6% fall.

Says Aaron West, Senior Analyst at Omdia:

“Throughout 2023, Chinese OEMs have generally seen a worse decline than the market average. This could be attributed to the larger decline in the domestic market than overseas. There are other obstacles also facing Chinese OEMs, the Indian government has put in place stricter requirements for local smartphone assembly, slowing penetration of that market as Apple is making in-roads.”

Following the much-hyped and much-speculated launch of the Huawei P60 Pro, the OEM has seen a boost in its smartphone shipments. In 3Q23, it recorded 10.7 million shipments, up 1.9 million from 3Q22, or a 24.4% increase. This edges it slightly ahead of Realme this quarter, making Huawei the 9th largest smartphone OEM this quarter following a long stint in 10th position. Overall, Huawei has performed well against very tough market conditions to claw back market share from its domestic competitors. It’s in a strong position to end the year on a high note, following the successful launch of its new phones.

Hong concludes:

“The smartphone industry remains slightly below the shipment total we saw in 3Q22, however there are already signs of a recovering market. Half of all major brands saw increased shipments compared to the past year, with Transsion, Honor and Huawei particularly exceeding.

“The whole market is down 7.5% so far in 2023 compared to the first three quarters of 2022, meaning the final 2023 total is likely to be below that of 2022. But there are signals that a slow recovery is already underway.”

Quarterly Result: 3Q23  
Rank   OEM   3Q23   2Q23   3Q22   QoQ   YoY  
  Shipment   M/S   Shipment   M/S   Shipment   M/S  
1   Samsung   58.8   19%   53.3   20%   64.1   21%   10.3%   -8.2%  
2   Apple   53.4   18%   43.2   16%   52.2   17%   23.6%   2.3%  
3   Xiaomi   41.5   14%   33.2   12%   40.5   13%   25.0%   2.5%  
4   Oppo Group   26.6   9%   25.0   9%   29.1   10%   6.6%   -8.6%  
5   Transsion   26.3   9%   24.5   9%   17.7   6%   7.3%   48.6%  
6   vivo   22.6   7%   22.3   8%   25.3   8%   1.3%   -10.7%  
7   Honor   15.8   5%   14.1   5%   14.2   5%   12.1%   11.3%  
8   Motorola   11.2   4%   10.4   4%   11.4   4%   7.7%   -1.8%  
9   Huawei   10.7   4%   7.4   3%   8.6   3%   44.6%   24.4%  
10   Realme   10.6   4%   10.1   4%   13.6   4%   5.0%   -22.1%  
    Others   24.1   8%   22.5   8%   26.9   9%   7.2%   -10.5%  
    Total   301.6   100%   265.9   100%   303.6   100%   13.4%   -0.7%  
Source: Omdia Global Smartphone Shipment Preliminary Result 3Q23   © 2023 Omdia  
Note: Oppo Group includes Oppo and OnePlus. Transsion includes Tecno, itel and Infinix              


Chris Price
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