Gartner has revised its forecast for 2022 mobile sales, as the research firm said that global mobile phone sales will fall 7.1% this year, revising its earlier estimate of a growth of 2.3%. The research firm also expects worldwide personal computer (PC) shipments to drop 9.5% in 2022, compared with its earlier forecast of a 4% decline.
A drop in consumer spending owing to several geopolitical crisis such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and more importantly, China's slowing economy, owing to the lockdowns as well as inflation in several parts of the world are expected to drag down global shipments of computers and smartphones this year, said the analyst firm.
Mobile phone shipments in 2022 are expected to fall to 1.46 billion units from 1.57 billion and Gartner's earlier forecast of 1.60 billion. At the same time, smartphone shipments are estimated to decrease 5.8% year-over-year, said Ranjit Atwal, senior director analyst at Gartner.
Here too, Greater China, which has been leading the adoption of 5G phones over the last two years, will be hit the hardest with smartphone shipments on pace to decline 18.3% in 2022. On the whole, the collapse of the smartphone market in the region would mean a 2% decline in 5G phone shipments in 2022, after growing 65% in 2021.
In 2022, Gartner expects worldwide 5G phone shipments will total 710 million units. While this is an increase of 29% from 2021, it is down from previous expectations. “The growth rate is significantly down from an expected increase of 47% at the start of the year, with a resulting loss of 95 million 5G phone shipments,” said Atwal.
The demand for 5G phones is expected to pick up at a faster pace in 2023. “Much of the migration to 5G will occur by default as users will replace older 4G smartphones at the end of their life cycle with 5G-compatible smartphones,” he said.
"A perfect storm of geopolitics upheaval, high inflation, currency fluctuations and supply chain disruptions have lowered business and consumer demand for devices across the world, and is set to impact the PC market the hardest in 2022," said Atwal.
While Lenovo, HP and Dell continue to hold the top three positions in the PC market, Atwal said, the higher demand for smartphones and PCs during the pandemic had led tech companies to place big orders with chipmakers which resulted in shortage of semiconductors that are used in industries including automobiles and telecom.
The soft demand for PCs and smartphones is also likely to have an adverse impact on companies from chipmakers such as Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), the latter saying earlier this month that the "PC market was set for a slowdown after two very strong years".
Meanwhile, mobile phone makers Samsung and Apple already saw declining sales in several regions in the first quarter hit by China's Covid-19 lockdowns.