What just happened? Economic slowdown and weakened consumer purchasing power in China resulted in a market drop of 14 percent. Significant consolidation among the top five smartphone players in the country was also witnessed as names like Huawei and Vivo grew their market share while others slid.
Smartphone shipments in China totaled just 396 million units in 2018, their lowest level since 2013 according to a new report from market analyst firm Canalys.
From 2010 through 2016, smartphone shipments enjoyed steady – and at times, explosive – growth. Things tapered off in 2017, however, as shipments in the country slid by four percent. From 2017 to 2018, the falloff was much steeper at 14 percent.
According to Canalys, Q4 2018 marks the seventh consecutive quarter of decline in China.
While overall shipments are down, the country’s top five smartphone vendors aren’t exactly suffering. Collectively, in terms of market share, they’re thriving.
Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Apple saw their combined market share increase to 88 percent in China in 2018, from just 73 percent a year earlier. Huawei and Vivo were the biggest winners with unit growth of 16 percent and nine percent, respectively.
Mo Jia, an analyst from Canalys’ Shanghai office, said Huawei’s dual-brand strategy has been a huge success, with sub-brand Honor helping to cover a broad range of price bands. On the high-end, the company has used technological innovations to help extend its lead.
Apple’s unit growth was down 13 percent in 2018, representing the third consecutive year of declining shipments in China.