iPhone 14 couldn't save Apple's dismal holiday smartphone quarter

Inside the Apple Store in Knightsbridge, London
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple experienced quite a reduction in the number of iPhones it shipped in the final quarter of 2022, but other smartphone makers had it even worse.

New data shared by IDC shows that the holiday quarter of 2022 saw Apple ship 72.3 million iPhones — enough for it to manage almost a full quarter of the market. But that number was a significant fall compared to the same quarter in 2021 despite the launch of the iPhone 14 lineup.

IDC's numbers have Apple's year-on-year change being a reduction of 14.9% for the holiday quarter, despite actually increasing its market share from 23.1%.

It could have been a lot worse

While IDC blames a showing smartphone market and weak demand for the figures, it's important to note that Apple wasn't the only struggling company.

"Worldwide smartphone shipments declined 18.3% year over year to 300.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2022 (4Q22)," IDC notes. "2022 ended with shipments of 1.21 billion units, which represents the lowest annual shipment total since 2013 due to significantly dampened consumer demand, inflation, and economic uncertainties."

As for the competition, they had it much, much worse.

Samsung saw a year-on-year fall of 15.6%, while Xiaomi was hit even harder — a fall of 26.3%. Oppo's 15.9% reduction seems perfectly normal by comparison, as does the Vivo result of an 18.9% fall.

IDC also noted that Apple, typically insulated from such issues, suffered during 2022 due partly to its reliance on Chinese labor.

"Apple, which thus far was seemingly immune, suffered a setback in its supply chain with unforeseen lockdowns at its key factories in Chin," the report adds.

All eyes will be on whether 2023 can fare any better, but with Apple set to refresh its best iPhones later this year, there is always hope that something new will kickstart sales. The iPhone 15 Pro Max promises a new camera system that could prove popular among those buying Apple's high-end models.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.