Global smartphone market down for first time ever after 4pc drop in 2018

Paul Lipscombe
February 1, 2019

Increasing competition expected to bring market consolidation 

Global smartphone shipments dropped four per cent during 2018 as the global smartphone market declined for the first time ever.

According to Counterpoint Research shipment figures dropped seven per cent in the final quarter for 2018.

It was the fifth consecutive quarter that smartphone shipments dropped.

The decline has been blamed on lengthening replacement cycles in strong markets such as the US, China and Western Europe as consumers held onto their devices amid a “lack of groundbreaking innovation”.

Despite growth in emerging markets including India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Russia this wasn’t able to offset the declining Chinese market.

Counterpoint Research analyst Shobhit Srivastava said: “With China showing little or no sign of recovery due to various politico-economic factors, Chinese brands are looking to expand overseas.”

Srivastava added: “The increasing competition from both Chinese and global smartphone players will make it tougher for already suffering local brands.

“We have been talking about consolidation in the smartphone market in the past and 2019 will bring just that – top brands will continue to eat market share of smaller and local players.”

Both Samsung and Apple experienced a year-on-year decline in smartphone shipments, dropping 8 per cent and four per cent respectively.

Samsung shipped 291.8 million smartphones in 2018, down from 318.1m in 2017, while Apple shipped 206.3m, down from 215.8m the year before.

While Chinese players Huawei and Xiaomi grew 34 pc and 26 pc YoY after strong performances in Chinese, Indian, Asian and European markets. OPPO and vivo also had marginal gains.

Huawei shipped 205.3m in 2018, which was up from 153.1m in 2017 as Xiaomi increased from 96m in 2017 to 121m last year.

The Story is shared from our sister publication Mobile News

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