Knowledge Base

China’s smartphone industry is plummeting


It may come as a surprise but the Chinese smartphone market is seeing a large drop in shipments. This is especially rather shocking as it seemed like the Chinese mobile industry was nothing but a growth machine. For some time, it was anyway but for the first time in nearly 10 years, shipments are declining.


Shipments dropping: the facts


Last year, there was a 4.9% drop and this was said to be down to minor upgrades and thus not enough to entice people to buy. But in Q1 2018, smartphone shipments in China dropped by 21% year-over-year (91 million units). That’s the biggest drop since 2013 (Q4) and it’s not great. This figure was estimated by Canalys, a global technology market analyst firm.


Many smartphone manufacturers took the hit but Vivo and Oppo were greatly impacted, suffering a 10% drop (15 – 18 million units). Samsung shipped less than half of what they did in Q1 2017, as did Gionee and Meizu. Huawei, on the other hand, did rather well and increased the number of shipments by 2%, which sounds quite minor but it’s a big deal (they shipped 21 million+ smartphones), and it has helped them gain a market share of roughly 24%, almost a quarter. Not bad at all but it’s not surprising as they really are doing well with their smartphones.





Xiaomi have got to stand out as they are the only company that increased their number of shipments by a significant 37% (12 million units), which meant they beat Apple in fourth place. This has, no doubt, got to do with the fact that they were the only company to really cater for people looking for a budget / entry-level smartphone. They also catered for the high-end market with the Mi Mix 2Sand the Mi 6X.


Why is the industry plummeting?


So we know smartphone shipments were not great in Q1 2018 but the question is why, right? Well, it’s most likely because the competition is rather intense with so many companies in the market and they tend to copy one another’s ideas. This doesn’t tend to work out well for the smaller companies.


Despite the plummeting industry, Canalys foresee improvement in Q2 2018, based on new flagships from Huawei (P20 and P20 Plus), Oppo and Vivo. However, it’s possible that China may experience a stagnant smartphone market whilst companies research and develop to bring out smartphones that are truly feature-packed and exciting. After all, it is what they need to increase the number of shipments. But only time will tell.




Initially, this news came as a shock but it quickly became understandable. There are numerous smartphone manufacturers in China and there is a wide variety out there for consumers with a range of prices, almost catering for every type of person. However, this fierce competition was bound to result in companies mimicking each other’s smartphones and it’s not really the best of looks. Smartphones should be unique and the features should differ. They should cause excitement, which of course leads to sales so maybe some time in research and development may just be what these companies need to help the smartphone market in China.


What do you guys think? Share your thoughts below and thank you for reading Smiley Happy





Sadia produces tech reviews, tech tips & tutorial videos at XALIRATE and posts here on Wednesdays and Saturdays




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In a word - commoditisation.


I just think it’s down to the ridiculous prices they are now charging for some of these phones. People like myself have a budget and are only prepared to spend so much on a phone. I currently have a Samsung S6 Edge, and I will be looking at other phones than Samsungs when I decide to replace it.  There are some really excellent phones out there now at a lot less price. As seen on the blogs. 


Costumers knows what they're after this day and age... Just copying design and lying about specs by cheating benchmarks does not cut it anymore. 

Samsung is not competitively priced any more( rather buy One plus unless you really want the display).... 

Xiaomi slowly build up and listened to their customers request, therefore Mi mix 2s... 

And for the rest of world to buy a handset with shady customer after care is not ideal either... 

Just my 2 cents 

helping the masses

Specs are all samey so you might as well keep hold of a phone that works you bought a year ago.


The rate of innovation has slowed down to a crawl and there is very little on a new phone that is really any different to what you have on your current phone. Think people are waiting for 3 or 4 years before upgrading now. Prices of new phones are going through the roof which doesn't help either. Why upgrade unless you have a serious amount of wedge burning a hole in your pocket.

I'm glad they're slowing down. Simply put it this way, all the massive and fast forward production thing is leading to throw-away mobile phones culture instead of having one good reliable phone. Quality and not quantity is what matters at the end of the day. 

rocket scientist

Could it be that many people have decided that they really don`t need all the entire range of bells, whistles, widgets, and gadgets that most smartphones are now loaded with, and have realized that the pricier pricing isn`t necessary for them.


Thusly, they`re now opting for the less expensive, but still with a few of their needed optional options cellphones, instead.




Midrange is the way to go. Some people don't realise there are decent mid range phones such as Samsung A range, moto g5, Sony xperia x compact,, one plus etc. My girlfriend insists on a Samsung galaxy S series phone cos she hasn't heard of Samsung galaxy j5, a3, a5 etc.

How many teenagers (for example) actually know anything about the hardware capabilities on their latest iPhone or Samsung? My guess is not many .It's all about having the latest phone with many people, but maybe now customers are  beginning to realise the prices are too high. Refuse to pay top whack and eventually the manufacturers will have to lower their prices. 



@mike_sher Pretty much.


@c_lockett Chinese smartphone manufacturers are actually quite good at producing low-end to mid-range phones for people on a low budget, looking for an entry level phone but prices are definitely increasing. 


@chef_ronin Agreed. These manufacturers really do need to start coming up with unique ideas now. All of this copying is getting boring.


@baconbutty I wish I could hold onto a phone for more than one year. I'm such a phone addict; I need to have a new one every year Smiley LOL but I get where you're coming from. It could be done to be honest but depends how much of a tech addict you are I guess. I know people who have had their current phone for at least 3 years! 


@seanalert Innovation is slowing down for sure and the new features are all 'nice to have'. None that we really need but then again phones were only ever made for calls and texts but it's hard to not want the cool, new stuff with all these advancements.


@oliverspooner Quality over quantity. 100%. 


@7whales I think the price, more than anything else, is what is putting people off buying some smartphones.


@birdyboff Oh yeah, there are most certainly many good mid-range phones. Sadly they're all Android based and I prefer iOS for my primary smartphone. But there definitely are really good mid-range phones out there. Lots, in fact. 





helping the masses

@shadylady Problem I have with all the new ones is the sim card trays either having to have two sims or one sim and an sd card the phone I have now I can have all three at once which is nice.