New data shows that smartphone shipments fell 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker found that smartphone vendors shipped a total of 334.3 million units during the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), a decrease from the 344.4 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2017.
The China market was the biggest reason for the decline, with shipment volumes dipping below 100 million in the quarter. That 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.”
As for specific company first quarter performance, Samsung stayed at the top with a 23.4 percent share in the worldwide smartphone market, despite experiencing a 2.4 percent decline from Q1 2017. And Apple moved 52.2 million iPhones, a modest 2.8 percent year-over-year increase from the 50.8 million units shipped last year.
“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 12-18 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. 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.”