Following Apple’s record earnings release earlier today, Strategy Analytics is out this evening with new data on the smartphone industry. The analytics firm says that global smartphone shipments suffered their largest annual decrease during the holiday quarter…

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According to the firm, global smartphone shipments fell 9 percent in Q4 2017 (Apple’s fiscal Q1 2018), from 438.7 million in the year ago quarter to 400.2 million this time around. “It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history,” the firm says.

The reasoning for this fall, Strategy says, was a “collapse in the huge China market.” In the country, demand fell 16 percent annually due to slowing replacement rates and “a general lack of wow models.”

For the entire year, 1.5 billion smartphones were shipped – a number that’s up 1 percent compared to 2016.

As for Apple specifically, Strategy Analytics says that the iPhone accounted for a 19 percent share of the smartphone market in the holiday quarter, edging out both Samsung and Huawei. As Apple said earlier today, it shipped 77.3 million iPhones in the most recent quarter, down slightly from 78.3 in the year-ago quarter.

Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston says that for Apple to return to growth, it needs to “launch a new wave of cheaper iPhones” with a focus on the lower-end of the market.

“Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2017, slipping 1 percent annually from 78.3 million in Q4 2016. Despite robust iPhone X demand and an iPhone average selling price approaching an incredible US$800, we note global iPhone volumes have actually declined on an annual basis for 5 of the past 8 quarters.”

“If Apple wants to expand shipment volumes in the future, it will need to launch a new wave of cheaper iPhones and start to push down, not up, the pricing curve.”

Apple attributed some of its slightly lower numbers in the holiday quarter due to a one-week difference in length, with this year’s quarter coming in at 13 weeks versus 14 weeks last year. It’s likely that the same issue applied to the industry as a whole, though a 9 percent drop in shipments is certainly notable either way.

Catch up with all of Apple’s earnings news right here. Full Strategy Analytics release below:

Strategy Analytics: Global Smartphone Shipments Tumble 9 Percent to 400 Million in Q4 2017

Boston, MA – February 1, 2018 – According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics,global smartphone shipments tumbled 9 percent annually to reach 400 million units in Q4 2017. It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. Apple captured first place with 19% global marketshare, nudging Samsung into second position. Xiaomi continued its relentless rise, almost doubling smartphone shipments from a year ago.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments declined 9 percent annually from 438.7 million units in Q4 2016 to 400.2 million in Q4 2017. It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16 percent annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of wow models. However, on a full-year basis, global smartphone shipments grew 1 percent and topped an impressive 1.5 billion units for the first time ever.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2017, slipping 1 percent annually from 78.3 million in Q4 2016. Despite robust iPhone X demand and an iPhone average selling price approaching an incredible US$800, we note global iPhone volumes have actually declined on an annual basis for 5 of the past 8 quarters. If Apple wants to expand shipment volumes in the future, it will need to launch a new wave of cheaper iPhones and start to push down, not up, the pricing curve. Samsung dipped 4 percent annually and shipped 74.4 million smartphones for 19 percent marketshare worldwide in Q4 2017, up slightly from 18 percent share a year ago. Samsung is under pressure from Chinese rivals in some major markets, like China and India, but it remains by far the largest smartphone brand on a global basis, shipping an unmatched 317.5 million units in full-year 2017.”

Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Huawei maintained third position with 10 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2017, holding steady from the same level a year ago. Huawei is performing well across Asia and Europe, but it is struggling to crack the valuable US market due to limited distribution channels. Huawei’s goal to be the world’s number one or two smartphone vendor is unlikely to happen if it cannot make headway in the United States.”

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “OPPO shipped 29.5 million smartphones during Q4 2017, unmoved from 29.5 million units in Q4 2016. OPPO was growing smartphone shipments at a 99 percent annual rate a year ago, but its growth has now dropped to zero. The golden age for OPPO is coming to an end and it is facing serious competition from Xiaomi and others. Xiaomi soared 87 percent annually, taking fifth place with 27.8 million shipments, more than doubling its global smartphone marketshare to 7 percent in Q4 2017, up from 3 percent a year ago. Xiaomi’s range of Android models, such as the Redmi Note 4, is proving wildly popular in India, snatching volumes from competitors such as Lenovo and Reliance Jio. Xiaomi is outgrowing almost everyone for now, but we expect its breakneck speed to slow this year, as rivals such as Huawei fight back with improved or cheaper new designs.”

[9to5-press-release]

Boston, MA – February 1, 2018 – According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments tumbled 9 percent annually to reach 400 million units in Q4 2017. It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. Apple captured first place with 19% global marketshare, nudging Samsung into second position. Xiaomi continued its relentless rise, almost doubling smartphone shipments from a year ago.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments declined 9 percent annually from 438.7 million units in Q4 2016 to 400.2 million in Q4 2017. It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16 percent annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of wow models. However, on a full-year basis, global smartphone shipments grew 1 percent and topped an impressive 1.5 billion units for the first time ever.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2017, slipping 1 percent annually from 78.3 million in Q4 2016. Despite robust iPhone X demand and an iPhone average selling price approaching an incredible US$800, we note global iPhone volumes have actually declined on an annual basis for 5 of the past 8 quarters. If Apple wants to expand shipment volumes in the future, it will need to launch a new wave of cheaper iPhones and start to push down, not up, the pricing curve. Samsung dipped 4 percent annually and shipped 74.4 million smartphones for 19 percent marketshare worldwide in Q4 2017, up slightly from 18 percent share a year ago. Samsung is under pressure from Chinese rivals in some major markets, like China and India, but it remains by far the largest smartphone brand on a global basis, shipping an unmatched 317.5 million units in full-year 2017.”

Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Huawei maintained third position with 10 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2017, holding steady from the same level a year ago. Huawei is performing well across Asia and Europe, but it is struggling to crack the valuable US market due to limited distribution channels. Huawei’s goal to be the world’s number one or two smartphone vendor is unlikely to happen if it cannot make headway in the United States.”

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “OPPO shipped 29.5 million smartphones during Q4 2017, unmoved from 29.5 million units in Q4 2016. OPPO was growing smartphone shipments at a 99 percent annual rate a year ago, but its growth has now dropped to zero. The golden age for OPPO is coming to an end and it is facing serious competition from Xiaomi and others. Xiaomi soared 87 percent annually, taking fifth place with 27.8 million shipments, more than doubling its global smartphone marketshare to 7 percent in Q4 2017, up from 3 percent a year ago. Xiaomi’s range of Android models, such as the Redmi Note 4, is proving wildly popular in India, snatching volumes from competitors such as Lenovo and Reliance Jio. Xiaomi is outgrowing almost everyone for now, but we expect its breakneck speed to slow this year, as rivals such as Huawei fight back with improved or cheaper new designs.”


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