A Slowdown in China Drags the Worldwide Smartphone Market to a Year-over-Year Decline of 2.9% in Shipments During the First Quarter of2018, According to IDC
According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 334.3 million units during the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), resulting in a 2.9% decline when compared to the 344.4 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2017. The China market was the biggest driver of this decline with shipment volumes dipping below 100 million in the quarter, which hasn't happened since the third quarter of 2013.
"Globally, as well as in China, a key bellwether, smartphone consumers are trading up to more premium devices, but there are no longer as many new smartphone converts, resulting in shipments dropping," said Melissa Chau, associate research director with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "When we look at it from a dollar value perspective, the smartphone market is still climbing and will continue to grow over the years to come as consumers are increasingly reliant on these devices for the bulk of their computing needs."
Samsung remained the leader in the worldwide smartphone market grabbing 23.4% share despite experiencing a 2.4% decline from Q1 2017. The new S9 and S9+ led the way as the new flagships launched a quarter early for the Korean giant compared to last year’s S8/S8+.
Apple's first quarter saw the iPhone maker move 52.2 million iPhones representing a modest 2.8% year-over-year increase from the 50.8 million units shipped last year. Despite rumors of an underperforming iPhone X in the quarter, Apple stated that the iPhone X was the most popular model each week in the March quarter.
Huawei climbed to a new market share high of 11.8% even as it remained in third overall. Huawei has toed the line between maintaining a strong domestic position while slowly upscaling its brand image in international markets with dividends paying off as it beat the average global growth rate, reaching 13.8% year over year.
Xiaomi's strong performance has no doubt been due to its strong growth outside of China with 1Q18 the first quarter that less than half of its shipments were domestic, a transition that very few Chinese companies have reached. Xiaomi continues its retail expansion in India and Southeast Asia; however online channels remain the key contributor in India, its second largest market. Its low-end Redmi 5A made up almost two-fifths of its volume in India.
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