The smartphone sector’s speed bump continued in the third quarter, according to numbers from IDC. The firm found a 6% smartphone shipment decline year-over-year. Although it is the fourth straight year-over-year decline worldwide, the firm said that growth will resume next year.
Vendors shipped 355.2 million units during the quarter, IDC.
The keys to the slippage in the third quarter were results from Samsung and China. Samsung, the largest smartphone vendor, declined 13.4%. The company shipped 72.2 million units. The drop off was attributed to pressure from Huawei and from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo in India, Indonesia and other growing markets. The Chinese market suffered its sixth consecutive down quarter and lost 11% during the first half of this year. Flat growth – which in this context is an improvement — is expected next year.
“High penetration levels, mixed with some challenging economic times, has slowed the world’s largest smartphone market,” Ryan Reith, the program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, said in a press release about the smartphone shipments decline. “Despite this, we believe this market will begin to recover in 2019 and beyond, driven in the short term by a large, built up refresh cycle across all segments, and in the outer years of the forecast supported by 5G migration.”
In August, IDC predicted that smartphone sales will grow in the single digits from 2019 to 2022. The firm said that the drop this year would be from 1.465 billion to 1.455 billion units, a decline of 0.7%. The decline would hit in the first of the year and overshadow an increase during the second half.
The smartphone market has been hit by several other factors in addition to the ones IDC cites. Most fundamentally, percentage growth is difficult to maintain over time as the market matures and becomes saturated. This challenge is especially true in countries with developed economies. The gradual decline also is the result of the reality that the features being introduced are less exciting than those in the earlier days of the market.