Apple Inc. (AAPL), Others Facing A Worldwide Smartphone Market That's Slowing Dwon

Samsung is still top dog but Apple gained ground.                  Marta Franco  CNET

Samsung is still top dog but Apple gained ground. Marta Franco CNET

According to the latest research from Counterpoint's Market Monitor service, global smartphone shipments declined 3 percent annually in Q1 2018. Canalys also notes that the global smartphone market declined by 3.4-percent compared to the same period past year. 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.

Rather than being a failure, the iPhone X has put Apple into the lead of the new generation of smartphones. "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".

The USA market shows a little more equilibrium, with Android and Apple sharing 59.1 and 39.0 per cent of sales respectively, and no notable change on the same period in 2017.

In the UK, Apple iOS devices accounted for 37.0 per cent of sales in the first three months of 2018, compared with 62.7 per cent for Android. "Apple's ultra-premium iPhone X is proving relatively popular in some markets like China and the United States, while there remains scope for additional expansion in emerging regions such as India and Africa", said Neil Mawston, Executive Director, Strategy Analytics.

This is Xiaomi has recorded the highest growth of 8.4% this year, nearly twice last year's level (4.3 per cent).

According to a source from the Korean electronics giant, Lee met with BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu, Huawei Technologies CEO Ren Zhengfei, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and BBK Electronics CEO Tony Chen to expand ties with Chinese partners as Samsung looks to emerging industries, such as electronic cars, as potential future growth engines.

Apple sits on the second spot with 52.2 million units.

China has been the hotbed for smartphone manufacturers, it has been the home ground for players like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Lenovo.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's vice-president said on Thursday he does not worry that a possible trade war between China and the United States would affect the supply of components to the company.

Apple could face stiff competition soon from Samsung, however. OPPO, vivo, Samsung in the top 10 smartphone category reported declines in Q1 2018. It has moved its market share from 9.8% in Q1 2017 to 11.4% in Q1 2018. Xiaomi has found the 4th position by beating Oppo.

ZTE has also been barred by the U.S. government from buying American technology, a serious blow to the company that reportedly buys 70 percent of its smartphone chips from USA semiconductor maker Qualcomm. Together, the three smartphone brands of Transsion holdings (Tecno, iTel and Infinix) accounted for over 10 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2018. The filing caps a remarkable turnaround for a company that encountered serious growing pains in 2016 after an over-aggressive expansion disrupted its supply chain and allowed rivals to grab market share. This is one of the reasons why people are not buying new phones and flagship devices.in Q1 2017 China saw a total shipment number of 114 million, in Q1 2018 the number has now dropped to 91 million.

For brands like Gionee, Meizu, TCL and Lenovo, a rebound seems hard at this time.

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