Smartphone shipments have dropped for the fourth quarter in a row as inflation begins influencing consumer spending in the mobile market, according to a report by analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Supply chain issues led to lower phone shipments last year as companies scrambled to ramp up production amid the COVID pandemic, but uneasy economies have become a more significant issue. Phone manufacturers are making fewer phones as consumers hold off on buying new ones, according to Nabila Popal, IDC research director.

“What started out as a supply-constrained industry earlier this year has turned into a demand-constrained market,” Popal said in a press release Thursday.

Global phone shipments declined 8.7% year over year, falling to 286 million units sold in the second quarter of 2022. That number is even lower than expected, coming in 3.5% below analyst forecasts. 

The drop wasn’t universal, with the largest decline in demand in the second quarter of 2022 coming from China, which saw shipments decline 14.3% compared to the same period a year ago. By contrast, the Asia Pacific region without China saw sales drop 2.2%, and nearly all other regions saw “low-to-mid single digit declines.”

Other factors have affected phone sales, too: while Central and Eastern Europe only account for 6% of global phone shipments, the war in Ukraine has led to phone shipments dropping by over a third in the region. 



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