- Worldwide shipments of mobile phones are set to decline by 2% in 2023, from an already weak year in 2022, in which they will drop by 10% as the rising cost of living suppresses demand.
- 5G remains on an upward trajectory, but weak sales of mobile phones will result in lower uptake of the latest technology.
- Provided macroeconomic conditions improve, the global mobile phone market will start growing in 2024 but will remain below pre-pandemic levels for quite some time.
London, 13 October 2022: As the global economy continues to feel the effects of post-pandemic inflation and the economic fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, mobile phone manufacturers have a difficult period ahead in 2023 after a challenging year in 2022.
With the mounting cost of living stretching consumer’s budgets, demand for mobile phones is set to stall worldwide, falling by 10% in 2022 to 1.43 billion units, and by 2% annually in 2023 to 1.41 billion units, according to the latest market forecast by technology market analyst firm CCS Insight. Smartphones are expected to see a slightly more positive outlook, declining by 1% in 2023, to 1.21 billion units, following a fall of 8% in 2022.
“The global economy will remain in a fragile state in 2023, with the impact of inflation lingering and the slow pace of economic growth continuing to subdue demand for mobile phones” said James Manning Smith, Senior Analyst at CCS Insight. “Although there are some hot spots of growth in the market, such as India and the developing markets of Asia–Pacific, we expect consumers to forgo replacement purchases in 2023, and in developing markets many people still won’t be able to afford their first mobile phone.”
Volatility in the Chinese market will continue to suppress global market volumes, with a 4% decline in mobile phone shipments forecast for 2023, following a 22% decline forecast for the market in 2022. “The Chinese market has been hit by various factors such as Covid-19 lockdowns this year, but we don’t expect sales to return to their previous highs” noted Manning Smith, “Demand in China is set to remain subdued as consumers ease back on how regularly they upgrade their smartphones”.
The economic challenges of 2022 have not been felt evenly in all segments of market — premium smartphones are performing better than more-affordable models. However, as this year’s economic troubles persist into the traditionally strong Christmas period, sales of premium devices will feel the squeeze in the final quarter of 2022 and into 2023.
Shipments of 5G mobile phones will remain on an upward trajectory as the technology becomes available at lower price points and 5G coverage expands. CCS Insight forecasts shipments of 5G-capable phones will rise 16% in 2023, reaching 730 million units.
Although the global economy remains fragile, growth in the mobile phone market is on the horizon, provided economies recover. CCS Insight forecasts a small worldwide growth in 2024 and onward, driven by renewed demand in developed markets and a return to the pre-pandemic trajectory of mobile phone adoption in the emerging world. However, global sales of mobile phones will remain well below the levels we have seen in the last decade for some considerable time.
A summary of CCS Insight’s new forecast is presented below.
More details of CCS Insight’s extensive mobile phone research service can be found here.
Notes to editors
CCS Insight is a leading provider of research about mobile phones and 5G. This forecast is part of a broader suite of research into these areas, including pricing, consumer surveys, regular reports and updates on the latest announcements, events and news.
About CCS Insight
CCS Insight is a global analyst company focussing on current and future trends in technology. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world. Follow @CCSInsight on Twitter or learn more at www.ccsinsight.com.
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