All is not well in the land of smartphones. The industry was headed for a slowdown long before SARS-CoV-2 entered the picture. The glory days of booming markets and biannual updates seem to be over, with things only exacerbated by two years of financial difficulties and supply chain constraints.
For all of these reasons, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are backing down on manufacturing. A new report from South Korea’s Maeil Business News shows the world’s leading smartphone maker is cutting production by 30 million units by 2022. The news comes as sales are further hampered by the conflict in Ukraine. . In March, the company, following tech giants Microsoft and Apple, suspended sales in Russia.
Apple has also been feeling the pain. Recent reports from Bloomberg noted that the iPhone maker is accelerating plans to make an additional 20 million phones in 2022. Instead, its numbers are reported to be flat from 2021. Those reports follow several quarters of iPhone sales that they managed to buck many of the industry’s macro trends, but the company could be coming back to Earth, even with the imminent arrival of the iPhone 14.
It’s a perfect storm of industry and global factors that have brought us to this place. This is no time to panic for the largest manufacturers: they will almost certainly emerge from the downturn unscathed. But broader questions remain about the future of the industry. Most important of all is whether this is a pause after a decade of explosive smartphone sales, or whether even the advent of new technologies such as foldable screens won’t fuel a return to the mobile golden age.
Samsung declined to comment on the reports.