The tech industry has wormed its way into all of our lives, creating essential tools for life in the modern age. Still, the smartphone industry continued its recent drop in shipments, according to IDC data, falling to 314.1 million units shipped worldwide. That’s down 9% from the same period last year, and 3.5% less than even analysts had expected.
There are a lot of very good reasons why this is happening, IDC said. COVID-19 is forcing Chinese citizens into isolation, disrupting global supply chains as Russia continues its unprovoked war on Ukraine. The resulting economic uncertainty becomes the norm, sending stock markets tumbling along the way.
“Things seemed to have gotten worse,” Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, said in a statement. “Consumer sentiment in all regions, and particularly in China, is broadly negative with strong concerns over inflation and economic instability which have dampened consumer spending.”
As a result, Popal added, companies are “adopting a more conservative growth strategy for 2022,” which analysts said “things are getting austere.”
The news is unlikely to come as a surprise to anyone who has watched the financial world lately. Major stock indexes have lost value so far this month, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite falling nearly 12%. Meanwhile, tech companies ranging fromfor for announced lackluster quarterly results for the first three months of the year.
Although Samsung once again topped the global totals, with 73.6 million units shipped, it was actually down more than 1% from the same period a year ago. Chinese Xiaomi, in third place, fell by almost 18%. Fourth-placed Oppo and fifth-placed Vivo, also Chinese, fell almost 27% and 28% respectively.
Apple, of which, was the only major phone maker to increase shipments. IDC counted more than 56.5 million iPhones shipped, up more than 2% from the previous year.
But even Apple executives warned on Thursday that COVID-19 lockdowns will contribute to supply shortages of up to $8 billion across its product line. “Our research tells us that Samsung and Apple have handled the supply chain situation somewhat better than their competitors,” Ryan Reith, vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers group, said in a statement.
People still need phones, Reith said. “It’s just a matter of when that demand picks up.”