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Daily Authority: Smartphone sales are weird

Bets against Apple, Xiaomi sales way down, Pixel up: What's happening in smartphone sales?

Published onMay 20, 2022

⚡ Good morning! Hey there! Here’s what’s happening to end the week… other than Qualcomm’s launch in China of what should be the refreshed Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip… Plus? Super? Max? We find out soon enough.

Smartphone sales

Best Smartphones 2 End of Year 2021 1
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

A couple of notes on mixed smartphone sales.

Things were still pretty good, last quarter, in North America, showing growth:

  • A new Canalys report says that in Q1 2022, 39 million smartphones were shipped, up 3.7% year-on-year.
  • About 30.4 million of those phones are either from Apple or Samsung.
  • Google did well, too! Sort-of: It’s now selling more than a million phones per quarter. That’s …not a lot in the overall scheme but it’s far better.
  • The headline figure for Google is that its sales are up 380%. Google sold 0.2 million in Q1 2021; in Q1 2022, it sold 1.2 million.
  • That is good! But! Apple grew 19%, and in doing so, sold an extra three million units, reaching 51% market share.
  • Samsung more or less held steady, selling 100k more phones than in the previous quarter.
  • So, Google is on the right track, and with the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7 in the works, is making an impact.
  • That’s also being seen in the UK: analysis firm IDC said that Google reached the top five for the first time, with 3.3% market share.
  • Here’s the North America shipments data from Canalys:
Canalys Q1 2022 NA Smartphone Market Share

But, elsewhere, things are not as good:

  • Xiaomi posted its first-ever decline in revenue in a quarter: falling 4.6% from the previous year.
  • That’s probably because of the lockdowns and quarantines in China, from Shanghai to Beijing and more, though blame the Russian attacks in Ukraine and the ongoing supply chain issues.
  • (Apparently, not a single car was sold in Shanghai in April, a city of 26 million people, due to the lockdown.)
  • And Xiaomi’s global shipments of smartphones slumped 17.8% last quarter, mirroring falls by OPPO and vivo.
  • No doubt this is affecting stocks of the likes of Apple amid the wider tech slump.
  • And some are thinking it’s going to get worse: Michael Burry, the investor of “The Big Short” fame, is betting some millions against Apple, opening a short position even after Apple stock fell 20% in the wider market drop (Seeking Alpha).
  • Bets are bets, though. Burry will have some level of confidence, but at the same time, there are no sure things.

Q2 sales are going to be very interesting. Will inflation raise prices, or will companies be forced to drop prices and take a hit to margins in the case of falling sales?


🔋 The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 may have a much larger battery after all (Android Authority).

👉 Bill Gates uses a Galaxy Z Fold 3. In a recent AMA yesterday he said: “I have an Android Galaxy Z Fold 3. I try different ones. With this screen I can get by with a great portable PC and the phone and nothing else.” (r/IAMA)

🍎 Apple’s board of directors reportedly tried out its upcoming AR / VR headset: hints that it could be coming soon, but probably not at WWDC? (The Verge).

👉 Y Combinator has sent founders “a 10-point survival strategy” in a fairly ominous marker of what’s going on in SIlicon Valley, startups, and preparing for the worst (TechCrunch).

📃 SpaceX reportedly paid $250,000 to cover up Elon Musk’s sexual misconduct, Musk denies it and is tweeting a lot (The Verge).

🚗 The incredible shrinking car dealership: Honda is adapting (Wired).

📡 NASA is receiving strange data from Voyager 1: “A mystery like this is sort of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission” (NASA).

🚀 Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft reached orbit successfully late yesterday though some “Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control (OMAC)” thrusters failed after launch, though plenty of redundancy is in place — launch video linked (YouTube).

🏩 The secret Life of a Tokyo coke baron: “As the Yakuza lose influence, foreign criminals are seizing the reins of the Japanese drug market. One of them spent a year telling us how he does it.” Classic Vice, though, uh, maybe don’t have your kids read this? (Vice).

🪓 And something of a cleanser: Here’s a baby beaver, the cutest of baby animals? (Twitter).

🦷 “Why can’t a human body heal teeth in case it breaks or there is a cavity?” (r/askscience).

Friday Fun

Samsung put Galaxy Buds 2 inside a Poké Ball, and they sold out in a flash.

  • I mean, of course they did! Look how neat these look:
  • I can’t quite figure out how many were sold or why Samsung didn’t make more.
  • But those who nabbed one are probably wearing out the open and shut button as fast as they can!

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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