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Smartphones see first ever full-year drop in sales



Global smartphone shipments fell 6 percent from 400.7 million units in Q4 2017 to 376 million units in Q4 2018, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. 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 market share in the final quarter of 2018, ahead of Apple iPhone in second, while Huawei was a whisker behind in third place.

“The global smartphone market has now declined for five consecutive quarters, due to longer replacement rates, a lack of wow models, and economic headwinds,” said Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics. “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.”

Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics said, “Huawei remains the world’s third largest smartphone vendor with 16 percent market share 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.”

Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics said, “OPPO held fourth place, capturing 8 percent global smartphone market share 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 market share 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.”

The full report, Global Smartphone Shipments Slip 6 Percent in Q4 2018, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here: