Samsung wins bittersweet Q4 battle in key smartphone market, still loses 2022 war
It's no big secret that 2022 was a bad year for the mobile industry as a whole, with global smartphone shipments down 11 percent from 2021 due to many different factors, but if there's a country you'd have expected to buck the trend, that's probably India.
Unfortunately, that's not quite the case... this time around, as the world's second-largest smartphone market went through its "first-ever" (!!!) Q4 decline to finish last year with lower overall sales numbers than 2021.
The 6 percent full-year dip was clearly not as bad as what happened in other major markets around the globe, but the 27 percent (!!!) contraction of Indian smartphone shipments registered in the final three months of 2022 compared to the same period of the previous year is, quite frankly, disastrous.
With that in mind, it shouldn't come as a big shock that Samsung, Xiaomi, and Realme all saw their respective sales figures in the region plummet between October and December. Vivo and Oppo, on the other hand, somehow managed to boost their Q4 numbers year-on-year, which was however not enough to secure India's crown for any of the two China-based sister brands.
For the first time since Q3 2017, it was actually Samsung that took home the top quarterly prize, closely followed by Vivo and former leader Xiaomi, the latter of which dropped from 9 million unit shipments in Q4 2021 all the way down to 5.5 mil now.
Xiaomi still edged out Samsung for first place in 2022 sales, but the country's only real winner of last year was Oppo, which gained 8 percent in shipments to occupy the fourth spot in the vendors' chart, narrowly behind Vivo and ahead of Realme.
A "global economic slowdown" is primarily blamed for the declining smartphone sales in India (just like pretty much everywhere else), but while the regional market is expected to continue to struggle in the short term, its long-run performance prospects are not looking bad at all.
Specifically, experts think "moderate growth" is possible in 2023, followed by a significant boost in "consumers' purchasing power" in the region in 2024, which should help the smartphone market nicely recover from this year's troubles.