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Smartphone Market Expected to See Little Growth in 2023

An analyst said 2022 had the "worst annual and Q4 performance in a decade."

stack of phones
Canalys Research predicts "flat to marginal growth" for the market in 2023.
Sarah Tew/CNET

It could be a difficult year ahead for the smartphone industry thanks to decreasing shipments and market pressures, predict researchers at market analyst firm Canalys.

In the final three months of 2022, worldwide smartphone shipments fell by 17% and full-year shipments declined by 11%, according to a report from Canalys on Tuesday. Canalys Research analyst Runar Bjørhovde called it the "worst annual and Q4 performance in a decade." 

Last year's fourth-quarter performance was nothing like that of 2021, when the smartphone industry witnessed rising demand and fewer supply chain issues, the report said. 

Apple took the top spot in the fourth quarter with 25% of the market share, followed by Samsung at 20% and Xiaomi at 11%. 

The firm predicts "flat to marginal growth" for the market in 2023 with no expectation of conditions easing anytime soon. The tech industry faces an uncertain 2023 amid inflation, rising interest rates and widespread layoffs that signal a rocky economy ahead. While shipments aren't the same as sales, they're a market indicator of the smartphone industry at large.

"Though inflationary pressures will gradually ease, the effects of interest rate hikes, economic slowdowns and an increasingly struggling labor market will limit the market's potential," analyst Le Xuan Chiew said in the report.