Amid “muted” growth and lack of demand, Apple emerged as the clear winner in US smartphone sales.
Between ongoing supply chain disruptions, runaway inflation, and consumer belt-tightening caused by the increased cost of living, forecasts for the 2022 holiday shopping season were decidedly gloomy. Analysts predicted a 2.5% growth in total holiday revenue – a net decrease in a year that has averaged 7.1% inflation. Holiday revenue did come in higher than expected, up 7.6% from last year before inflation – making the actual growth either flat or very modest.
So how did this year’s holiday shopping season shake out for wireless retail?
Consumers desperate for some sense of normalcy nearly three years into a global pandemic prioritized experiences over goods in their shopping decisions; driving restaurant spending up 15.1% this holiday, while sales of electronics were down 5.3%. Lack of demand led to deep discounts of electronics that peaked at up to 25% (compared to 8% in 2021).
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that despite serious challenges in its Chinese production facilities that drove analysts to cut forecasts for Q4 iPhone shipments by 20 million, Apple still managed to capture 69% of November smartphone sales, despite having 56% of US smartphone market share in Q3 2022.
Given that November saw projections for global smartphone shipments to remain sluggish, with projected growth of only 1.45%, it will be interesting to see how the final totals for holiday shopping in 2022 influence outlooks for 2023.