Canalys: Smartphone shipments in China fell 14% in 2018

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Of the top five vendors, Apple had the toughest year.

 

From “China’s smartphone market falls 14% in 2018,” posted Monday:

In 2018, smartphone shipments in China fell to their lowest level since 2013, at 396 million units. The natural slowdown as consumers keep their smartphones for longer is one factor, but it has been amplified considerably by the economic slowdown in China and consumers’ weakened purchasing power. The latest quarter, Q4 2018, marked a 15% year-on-year drop, and the seventh consecutive quarter of decline…

As shipments tumble, the market is rapidly consolidating. The top five smartphone vendors’ market share has increased from 73% in 2017 to 88% in 2018. Among them, Huawei and Vivo bucked the overall market decline, and grew 16% and 9% respectively. Oppo managed to hold onto second place, falling 2% but growing market share. Xiaomi ranked fourth, as a disappointing second half caused its full-year shipments to fall by 6%. Apple stayed in fifth place with a 13% decline in 2018. It still out-performed the market, but this was the worst growth rate in the top five, and Apple’s third consecutive year of shipment decline in China…

Apple had the toughest year of the top five, with shipments falling 13%, as customers were deterred by the high pricing of its new iPhone. In addition, models such as iPhone 7 and 8 did not see significant uplift in China, even after prices were lowered after the launch of the iPhone XS. “Apple has several challenges in China, and the growing power of competitors is not actually its biggest,” said [Mo Jia, an Analyst based in Canalys’ Shanghai Office]. “As its services division becomes more important in China, it is vital for Apple to maintain or grow its installed base of iOS users. Apple must re-examine its China strategy, and find a way to revive its high-end brand imagine, in order to align with the purchasing behavior of local middle-class and upper-class demographics.”

My take: Has this been priced into Apple’s share price? Not clear.

Cue the market share chart (note: still counting units):

canalys apple toughest year