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Global Smartphone Shipments Declined on a Full-Year Basis for First Time Ever in 2018

by Linda Sui | Jan 31, 2019

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments fell 6 percent annually to reach 376 million units in Q4 2018. Global smartphone shipments for the whole year declined 5 percent in 2018, the smartphone industry’s first ever full-year decline. Samsung maintained first position with 18 percent global smartphone marketshare in the final quarter of 2018, ahead of Apple iPhone in second, while Huawei was a whisker behind in third place.

Global smartphone shipments tumbled 6 percent annually from 400.7 million units in Q4 2017 to 376.0 million in Q4 2018. The global smartphone market has now declined for five consecutive quarters, due to longer replacement rates, a lack of wow models, and economic headwinds. Global smartphone shipments fell 5 percent from 1.51 billion in full-year 2017 to 1.43 billion in full-year 2018. This was the first time ever in history the global smartphone market has declined on a full-year basis. It is a landmark event.

Samsung shipped 69.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2018, dipping 7 percent annually from 74.4 million units in Q4 2017. Samsung remains the world’s number one smartphone vendor, despite intense competition from Apple, Huawei and others across core markets of India, Europe and the US. Apple slipped 15 percent annually from 77.3 million iPhones shipped worldwide during Q4 2017 to 65.9 million in Q4 2018. The iPhone captured 18 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2018, slipping from 19 percent a year ago. Apple suffered big losses in China and this dragged down its global performance. Demand for the new XR, XS and XS Max models fell below expectations.

Huawei remains the world’s third largest smartphone vendor with 16 percent marketshare in Q4 2018. Huawei grew 35 percent and shipped a record 205.8 million smartphones globally in full-year 2018. Huawei is now just a whisker behind Apple, who shipped 206.3 million iPhones last year. Huawei is massively outgrowing the iPhone and we expect Huawei to overtake Apple on a full-year basis worldwide for the first time in 2019.

OPPO held fourth place, capturing 8 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2018, up slightly from 7 percent a year ago. OPPO is expanding swiftly across Europe and Africa, in countries such as Egypt and Italy, and this is complementing its core Asia presence. Xiaomi fell 6 percent annually and shipped a lackluster 26.0 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2018. Xiaomi held fifth position with 7 percent global marketshare during the quarter. Xiaomi’s growth crashed in the final few months of last year, due to overstocked inventory and fierce pricing competition from Chinese rivals like Huawei and Realme in key regions such as China and India. Xiaomi faces a much tougher 2019 and may struggle to maintain profits if growth continues to decline.

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in Q4 2018 

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '17

2017

Q4 '18

2018

Samsung

74.4

317.5

69.3

291.3

Apple

77.3

215.8

65.9

206.3

Huawei

41.0

153.0

60.5

205.8

Xiaomi

27.8

91.3

26.0

119.3

OPPO

29.5

118.0

31.1

116.6

Others

150.7

612.4

123.2

490.4

Total

400.7

1508.0

376.0

1429.7

Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare (%)

Q4 '17

2017

Q4 '18

2018

Samsung

18.6%

21.1%

18.4%

20.4%

Apple

19.3%

14.3%

17.5%

14.4%

Huawei

10.2%

10.1%

16.1%

14.4%

Xiaomi

6.9%

6.1%

6.9%

8.3%

OPPO

7.4%

7.8%

8.3%

8.2%

Others

37.6%

40.6%

32.8%

34.3%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

 

Total Growth YoY

-9%

1%

-6%

-5%

Source: Strategy Analytics

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