China smartphone shipments take a tumble - Mobile World Live

China smartphone shipments take a tumble

29 JAN 2019

Canalys predicted China’s smartphone market will decline again in 2019, with shipments likely to be below 400 million units.

The research company expects shipments to fall 3 per cent to 385 million units this year. Shipments in 2018 fell 14 per cent year-on-year to 396 million units, the lowest level since 2013. In 2017, shipments were down 4 per cent.

A standout feature of 2018 was rapid consolidation, with the top five smartphone vendors’ market share rising from 73 per cent in 2017 to 88 per cent (see chart below, click to enlarge), albeit the latter figures relate to a smaller overall market, as evidenced by the fact only Huawei and Vivo are shown to have increased unit shipments year-on-year (a trend also highlighted in Strategy Analytics figures released last week).


Canalys noted consumption in China is shifting toward the high-end, with the ASP expected to top $400 in 2021. Competition in the upper mid- and high-tier segments is forecast to intensify.

The move to higher-quality handsets is not limited to China: Counterpoint Research reported the global premium smartphone segment grew faster than the overall market in 2018.

While global sales of handsets priced at $200 and below declined 10 per cent, the premium segment ($400 and over) grew 18 per cent (see chart below, click to enlarge).

Counterpoint Research said the ultra-premium band ($800 and higher) posted the fastest growth. In 2017 the segment accounted for 8 per cent of the overall premium market: in Q4 2018 it represented 35 per cent.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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