Analyst projections for smartphone shipments in Q1 2022 revealed the impact of unfavourable economic conditions and slow seasonal demand, although the two leading vendors were able to pick up market share.

Preliminary data from Canalys indicates shipments are expected to have dropped 11 per cent year-on-year, although actual figures for the quarter have not yet been published and the estimates are subject to change.

Canalys VP mobility Nicole Peng explained the global smartphone market was held back by an “unsettled business environment” in the first three months of the year.

Peng stated the ongoing Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, uncertainty due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s rolling lockdown and the threat of inflation all added to traditionally slow seasonal demand.

The good news is “the painful component shortages might improve sooner than expected, which will certainly help relieve cost pressures”.

Although Canalys figures showed Apple overtook Samsung to return to the top of the global smartphone market in Q4 2021, the South Korean vendor was once again the market leader in the first quarter of this year.

Compared with Q1 2021, Samsung was able to increase its market share by two percentage points to 24 per cent, while Apple boosted its share three percentage points to 18 per cent. Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia attributed this to the fact the two leading vendors broadened their device portfolios for 2022.

Third-placed Xiaomi, followed by Oppo and Vivo, all lost market share. Chaurasia noted the Chinese vendors are still suffering from supply constraints at the low end, while their global expansion is also “being hampered by a slowdown in their home market”.