Apple sales dropped at the end of 2022 as shoppers squeezed by the rising cost of living cut back their purchases.

Apple warned of delayed shipments of its new iPhone 14 as Covid restrictions hit its manufacturer

Apple warned of delayed shipments of its new iPhone 14 as Covid restrictions hit its manufacturer© Getty Images

Sales at the iPhone giant fell 5% in the three months to December compared with the same period in 2021.

It was the biggest quarterly decline since 2019 and worse than expected.

The update came as many firms warn about a sharp economic slowdown, especially in the tech sector which boomed during the pandemic.

Apple boss Tim Cook said the firm was navigating a “challenging environment”.

He blamed the sales decline on supply shortages due to Covid-19 disruption in China – where its phones are manufactured – and a strong dollar, as well as wider economic weakness stemming from rising prices, the war in Ukraine and lingering effects from the pandemic.

“As the world continues to face unprecedented circumstances … we know Apple is not immune to it,” he said on a conference call with investors.

Apple said the sales declines occurred throughout the world and hit most of its products.

Sales of its popular iPhones were down more than 8%.

Other big tech companies also said they were feeling pressure in updates to investors.

Amazon, which has been struggling to re-ignite its e-commerce business, said sales at its online stores dropped 2% in the final three months of 2022, compared with a year earlier.

At Alphabet, parent company of Google and YouTube, sales were up just 1% as firms cut back on advertising, the company’s main source of revenue, in the face of economic uncertainty.