China slowdown drags worldwide smartphone market dip
IDC says the sector experienced a year-over-year decline of 2.9% in shipments during Q1 2018
Analyst IDC has said smartphone vendors shipped a total of 334.3m units during the first quarter of 2018, resulting in a 2.9% decline when compared to the 344.4m units shipped in the first quarter of 2017.
Referencing the Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, IDC said the China market was the biggest driver of the decline with shipment volumes dipping below 100m 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."
"Despite new flagships from the likes of Samsung and Huawei, along with the first full quarter of iPhone X shipments, consumers looked unwilling to shell out big money for the latest and greatest devices on the market," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "The abundance of ultra-high-end flagships with big price tags released over the past 12 to 18 months has most likely halted the upgrade cycle in the near term. It now looks as if consumers are not willing to shell out this kind of money for a new device that brings minimal upgrades over their current device."
Scarsella said looking forward, more affordable premium devices might be the solution the market needs in the second half of the year to drive shipments back in a positive direction."
Samsung remained the leader in the worldwide smartphone market grabbing 23.4% share despite experiencing a 2.4% decline from Q1 2017.
On the other hand, Apple's first quarter saw the iPhone maker move 52.2m 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.