According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 375.4 million units during the fourth quarter of 2018 (4Q18), down 4.9% year over year and the fifth consecutive quarter of decline.
The emerged data indicate that it is the worst year ever for smartphone shipments with global smartphone volumes declining 4.1% in 2018 with a total of 1.4 billion units shipped for the full year. With challenging market conditions continuing into the first quarter of 2019, the likelihood of a declining market this year becomes more of a reality.
China, which alone accounts for about 30% of the global smartphone market, recorded a drop in sales of more than 10% compared to 2017. However, the top 4 brands, Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi – grew their share of the China market to roughly 78%, up from 66% in 2017.
However, as shown in the table below, the first two giants, Samsung and Apple are losing 5.5% and 11.5% respectively, with a fourth quarter share of 18.7% and at 18.2%.
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Followed by the Chinese manufacturers mentioned above (with Vivo in sixth place), all growing on an annual basis, especially Huawei which is positive for 43.9% with a share that in Q4 of 2017 it was 10.7%, now reaches 16.1%.
On a worldwide basis, the top 5 smartphone companies continue to get stronger and now account for 69% of smartphone volume, up from 63% a year ago. If vivo is included, which is currently number six and has been in and out of the top 5 in recent quarters, the share of the top companies is 75% and growing. While the market faces some very serious challenges in general, none are greater than the challenges facing the brands that continue to lose market share and channel positioning.