Canalys: 2022 sees China smartphone market decline to worst levels in a decade

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Canalys published its latest report on smartphone sales in China for the last quarter of 2022 and the entire calendar year. The results are grim as the market saw a 14% drop in total shipments, falling below 300 million units for the first time since 2013.

During Q4, Apple was the largest manufacturer with a 22% market share, although shipments fell 24%.

The importance of the Chinese market is huge for manufacturers, as it is the largest in the world – about 25% of all smartphones globally are sold in the Asian country. Canalys reveals that most suppliers have been dealing with inventory issues in 2022 and have had trouble clearing out inventory.

China is moving towards a “premiumisation” of the market, with manufacturers launching products with “enhanced ecosystem experiences”. The analysts pointed to Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica with the 13 Pro smartphone and Oppo with the expansion of its foldable portfolio to include the Find N2 Flip.

Canalys: 2022 smartphone market in China falls to worst levels in a decade

vivo retained its first place for the year, but is now very closely followed by Honor, Apple and Oppo – all four manufacturers have a similar market share of around 18%, followed by Xiaomi with 13%.

Most companies faced annual declines in shipments, except for Apple with a slight increase, and Honor with a massive 30% jump, but that company still took its first steps in 2022.

Selling 2022 shipments (millions) 2022 market share 2021 shipments (millions) 2021 market share Annual growth
vivo 52.2 18% 71.5 21% -27%
Honour 52.2 18% 40.2 12% 30%
Apple 51.3 18% 49.4 15% 4%
Oppo 50.4 18% 50.5 21% -27%
Xiaomi 38.6 13% 52.5 16% -19%
Others 42.6 15% 52.5 16% -19%
Total 287.3 100% 332.9 100% -14%

Expectations for 2023 are that demand could take 6 to 12 months to bring the number back above 300 million.

Nevertheless, overall market performance should pick up as the pandemic is no longer such a big issue, the supply chain is expected to stabilize, and business activity and consumer confidence are likely to return.


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