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Smartphone market as a whole shrinks; Samsung leads sales

Apple saw iPhones sales drop 15% during its first fiscal quarter of 2019, and when one of the world's largest smartphone manufacturers falls like that, a sign that the market as a whole is also going downhill. In addition to the estimates released by Strategy Analytics on the number of devices sold in the last quarter, the International Data Corporation (IDC) it also brought some data that help us to understand this picture.

IDC: Q4 2018 sales

According to the firm's report, smartphone manufacturers marketed a total of 375.4 million of devices during the last three months of 2018; this represents a decrease of 4.9% in relation to the previous year and the fifth consecutive quarter of decline in this market.

For Apple, specifically, IDC estimated that the company sold 68.4 million iPhones in the last quarter given a little more optimistic than the one released by Strategy Analytics. Still, this represents a drop of 11.4% per year and, it seems, Apple will have to shake things up to improve this situation.

Apple is certainly not out of the game, but the likelihood of not having an iPhone 5G in 2019 means that it needs to have a strong iPhone and, more importantly, a better ecosystem to succeed. If anyone can do that, Apple. But it certainly won't be easy when faced with all the other bearish pressures on the market.

Samsung, meanwhile, has not faced a quarter as bad as Apple, but has also seen its numbers drop. IDC pointed out that the South Korean manufacturer sold 70.4 million of smartphones, a decrease of 5.5% in relation to the same period of 2017. Even so, the company led the top of the sales ranking for the period.

IDC: smartphone sales in 2018

In the last quarter, it was bad for manufacturers, as the whole of last year was negative for these companies. More precisely, the total volume of dispatched smartphones fell 4.1% in 2018, with 1.4 billion devices sold. According to IDC vice president Ryan Reith, current market conditions remain unfavorable and the likelihood that the segment will continue to decline in 2019 is high.

Globally, the smartphone market is a mess at the moment. Out of a handful of high-growth markets like India, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam, we didn't see much positive activity in 2018. We believe that several factors are at play here, including lengthening restocking cycles, penetration levels in large markets, political and economic uncertainty, and growing consumer frustration around the continued rise in prices.

Speaking of large markets, China was once again cited as the Achilles heel of smartphone manufacturers, as this market accounts for 30% of world consumption and, in 2018, sales managed to be worse than the previous year, reaching just over 10%. For Chinese brands (Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi), however, this contributed to sales in the country, which increased to 78%, up from 66% in 2017.

Throughout last year, IDC reported that Apple sold 208.8 million iPhones, lagging behind Samsung, which sold 292.3 million devices, and ahead of Huawei, which shipped 206 million devices followed by other Chinese brands. who are riding towards the top, like Xiaomi, which saw its sales rise 32.2% per year.

via MacRumors