It isn’t just in China that Apple’s feeling the burn of shrinking iPhone sales. The reassuringly expensive mobe maker is, we're told, shipping millions fewer handsets in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, too.
IDC’s stats this week show Apple slipped from second to third spot in the vendor sales stakes in the first quarter of 2019: sales into the channel fell to 7.8 million smartphones from 10.2 million a year earlier, down a whopping 22.7 per cent. And Apple's market share suffered, slipping from 18.55 per cent in Q1 2018 to 14.74 per cent in Q1 2019.
For context, the total market declined 2.74 per cent to 55 million mobiles: the fortunes of the other players in the top five was mixed, though Chinese bogeyman Huawei outperformed all of the major brands.
The troubles at Apple emerged over the Christmas quarter, seasonally the iGiant's busiest trading period. It exited Q4 with an estimated channel inventory build-up of between 4 million to 5 million unsold iPhones.
CEO Tim Cook blamed dropping demand for iPhones in China and a new battery replacement programme for its worsening fortunes. And he cut the price of the mobes to try to widen their appeal. This strategy hadn’t worked as of Apple’s Q2 results for fiscal 2019, ended 30 March.
Luckily for the world’s second most valued brand – Amazon wears the crown these days – Apple has enjoyed some success with its iPad hardware and services including Apple TV and Apple Pay.
Apple, Samsung feel the pain as smartphone market slumps to lowest shipments in 5 YEARSREAD MORE
Samsung’s handsets declined 6.8 per cent in Q1 to 15.7 million, Huawei jumped into the second spot on shipments of 13.5 million, up 66.1 per cent. How the Chinese player shapes up this current quarter and beyond isn’t entirely clear at this stage, said Simon Baker, IDC program director EMEA.
"Europe has been a global focus of vendor concentration in recent quarters, with some of the smaller players under a lot of pressure," said Baker. "Looking ahead, it is no longer possible to see clear trends as before.
“The blacklisting of Huawei in the US on May 16 is creating so many unknowns, and uncertainty is the new key word in the industry as global geopolitics — unconnected directly with Europe or EMEA — becomes the single most important factor in how the market will develop over the rest of the year."
Xiaomi found shelf space in the channel for 2.9 million phones, as HMD slumped 32.6 per cent to 2.2 million. ®