Apple was hit with a sharp decline in iPhone shipments in the December quarter, but the news isn’t all bad — it’s once again the world’s largest maker of smartphones by a wider margin than ever before, according to market analysts.
Even better, Apple is pulling in almost half the revenue of the entire global market, and a very large share of the profit.
2022 was difficult for iPhone shipments
“The war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, economic uncertainty and macroeconomic headwinds kept the consumer sentiment weak in 2022 while smartphone users reduced the frequency of their purchases,” noted analyst Harmeet Singh Walia from Counterpoint Research. “The smartphone market remained under pressure in the fourth quarter of 2022 as the cost-of-living crisis, shortage in the labor market and a decline in consumers’ purchasing power resulted in double-digit declines in the shipments of each of the top five smartphone players.”
That includes Apple. It announced Thursday that Q4 revenue from iPhone sales dropped 8% year-over-year. But it didn’t reveal how many units it shipped. It’s up to market analysis firms to estimate that figure. Their estimates don’t completely line up, but all agree that shipments declined.
Unit shipments went down as much as 14.9% in Q4 2022, according to IDC. Strategy Analytics says the decline was only 11.2%, though.
“We estimate Apple shipped 71.1 million iPhones and topped the global smartphone market with a record high 24% share in Q4 2022,” said Linda Sui with Strategy Analytics. “Apple gained at at the expense of leading Chinese brands who were hampered by sluggish performance in both home and overseas markets. While it faced supply distribution issues in China in November and December, Apple still managed to beat many competitors and delivered solid results.”
All the market-analysis firms agree that iPhone’s drop in shipments was lower than that of Android-makers. IDC reports Samsung’s shipments declined 15.%, while Xiaomi’s went down 26.3%.
And iPhone makes most of the profits
Estimates for exactly how many iPhone units shipped in the last three months of 2022 vary slightly, but they are all around 71 million. That puts Apple at the top of the market with about 24% of the total. Samsung is in second place with around 20% of the global smartphone market.
But when it comes to revenue and profits, there’s no contest. Apple took in 48% of the revenue of entire smartphone market, and made 85% of the total profit, according to Counterpoint Research. This is possible because premium iPhone models sell well, while the large majority of Androids sold are low-cost and low-profit models.