The smartphone market has declined sharply in the first quarter of 2019. The sales volume goes down by 6.6% over a year. The data is according to IDC International Data Corporation’s worldwide quarterly Mobile phone tracker.
Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 310.8 million units in 1Q19, which marked the sixth consecutive quarter of decline. In 2018, smartphone shipments dropped 4.1% over 2017, which was inclusive of a first quarter that was down 3.5%. That was just half of what the market experienced in 1Q19. This quarter’s results are a clear sign that 2019 will be another down year for worldwide smartphone shipments. The only highlight from a vendor perspective was Huawei. They made a strong statement by growing volume and share despite market headwinds.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Huawei is laser-focused on growing its stature in the world of mobile devices, with smartphones being its lead horse,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “The overall smartphone market continues to be challenged in almost all areas, yet Huawei was able to grow shipments by 50%, not only signifying a clear number two in terms of market share but also closing the gap on the market leader Samsung. This new ranking of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple is very likely what we’ll see when 2019 is all said and done.”
If we do geographical breakdown, it seems there will be a challenge for China market for the remainder of 2019. But it was the U.S. market that felt the worst of the downturn in 1Q19. Smartphone volumes declined 15% year over year during the quarter. It is due to the slow down of replacement rates in one of the world’s largest markets. Apple iPhone challenges contributed to the exceptionally poor 1Q19 in the U.S. But they were not alone as Samsung, LG, and other top vendors also witnessed declining volumes during the quarter.
“The less than stellar first quarter in the United States can be attributed to the continued slowdown we are witnessing at the high end of the market,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Consumers continue to hold on to their phones longer than before as newer higher priced models offer little incentive to shell out top dollar to upgrade. Moreover, the pending arrival of 5G handsets could have consumers waiting until both the networks and devices are ready for prime time in 2020.”