All is not well in smartphone land. The industry was headed for a slowdown well before SARS-CoV-2 entered the picture. The glory days of expanding markets and bi-annual upgrades are seemingly at an end, and things have only been exacerbated by two years of financial hardships and supply chain constraints.
For all these reasons, it’s not surprising that manufacturers are pulling back on manufacturing. A new report from South Korea’s Maeil Business News has the world’s leading smartphone maker ramping production down by 30 million units for 2022. The news comes as sales are further hampered by the conflict in Ukraine. In March, the company followed fellow tech giants Microsoft and Apple by suspending sales in Russia.
Apple, too, has been feeling the pain. Recent Bloomberg reports noted that the iPhone maker is throttling plans to manufacture an additional 20 million phones in 2022. Instead, its numbers are reportedly going to remain flat from 2021. Those reports follow several quarters of iPhone sales that had managed to buck many of the industry’s macro trends, but the company might be coming back down to Earth, even with the imminent arrival of the iPhone 14.
It’s a perfect storm of industry and global factors that have gotten us to this place. It’s not panic time for the larger manufactures — they’ll almost certainly come out of the dip unscathed. But there are broader questions that remain about the industry going forward. Biggest of all is whether this is a lull following a decade of explosive smartphones sales, or whether not even the arrival of new technologies like foldable screens will kickstart a return to the mobile golden age.
Samsung declined to comment on the reports.