Demand for new phones appears to be waning with collapse in China market and Apple shipping 5m fewer devices
The global smartphone market fell 9% in a year this quarter, the biggest fall in smartphone history, with even Apple’s iPhone sales down 1% as users hang on to their phones longer.
For Apple, which is shipping 5m fewer smartphones than a year ago, the decline is offset by an increase in the average sale price of its iPhone, thanks to the popularity of its £1,000 iPhone X.
But as Samsung and others join Apple in pushing the top end of the market to higher prices the demand for new phones appears to be waning. Data from Strategy Analytics shows global smartphone shipments shrank year-on-year from 438.7m to 400.2m in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics, said: “It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16% annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of ‘wow models’.”
The iPhone X adopted the market trend of all-screen designs first introduced by the Samsung Galaxy S8 in March. But big leaps in smartphone features, such as ever better cameras, are now behind us, with incremental increases in artificial intelligence now taking the spotlight.