Smartphone shipments in China fell 34% sequentially and 13.4% on year to below 90 million units in the first quarter of 2018, affected by reduced production during the Lunar New Year holidays, inventory clear-up at channels as well as slower sales of new iPhone devices, according to Digitimes Research.
China's smartphone shipments as a proportion of total global shipments dropped below 30% in the first quarter.
In the first quarter, the top-five smartphone vendors in China in sequential order were Xiaomi Technology, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Apple. Xiaomi was less affected by off-peak seasonal factors in the quarter as compared to others, buoyed by the launch of its Redmi 5 Plus for the CNY1,000 (US$157) segment, Digitimes Research figures show.
Huawei suffered an over 40% sequential shipment decline in the first quarter due to a lack of new models and therefore dropped from the top to second place. Oppo and Vivo also focused on shipments of old models in the first quarter, resulting in an over 30% decline sequentially, or a reduction of three million units, respectively, as compared to a year earlier. Apple also saw its shipments in China slide 25.6% on quarter.
Thanks to the launch of new models by brand vendors, smartphone shipments in China in the second quarter are expected to climb up sequentially but still below the levels seen a year earlier, Digitimes Research estimates.
However, Apple is expected to see its iPhone shipments in China plunge by more than 30% sequentially in the second quarter as consumers will be waiting for the new models expected to be released in the third quarter.