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