Global Smartphone Shipments See Biggest Fall Ever in February 2020

Global smartphone shipments dropped an estimated 38 percent in February 2020, marking the biggest ever fall in the history of the worldwide smartphone market, according to new data shared today by Strategy Analytics.


Smartphone companies shipped an estimated 61.8 million units in February 2020, down from 99.2 million units in February 2019.

Smartphone demand in Asia dropped heavily in February, leading to a significant collapse in sales as lower demand in Asia dragged down shipments across the world. Some Asian factories were unable to manufacture smartphones due to quarantines and travel restrictions and customers were unable or unwilling to leave their homes to visit retail stores and buy new devices.
"February 2020 saw the biggest fall ever in the history of the worldwide smartphone market. Supply and demand of smartphones plunged in China, slumped across Asia, and slowed in the rest of the world. It is a period the smartphone industry will want to forget."
Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Yiwen Wu said that though there are now signs of recovery in China, global smartphone shipments are expected to remain weak throughout March 2020 as many countries are still struggling with the coronavirus.

Apple Stores in several countries including the United States are closed for the time being, and millions of consumers are in lockdown or unable to shop for new devices.
Yiwen Wu, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, "Despite tentative signs of recovery in China, we expect global smartphone shipments overall to remain weak throughout March, 2020. The coronavirus scare has spread to Europe, North America and elsewhere, and hundreds of millions of affluent consumers are in lockdown, unable or unwilling to shop for new devices. The smartphone industry will have to work harder than ever to lift sales in the coming weeks, such as online flash sales or generous discounts on bundling with hot products like smartwatches."
Apple in February said that its March quarter revenue will not meet its revenue goals, though we won't know how far below target Apple lands until its April earnings call.
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Apple’s HomePod Places Sixth in Global Smart Speaker Market in Q4 2019

Apple shipped an estimated 2.6 million HomePods during the fourth quarter of 2019, earning it 4.7 percent of the smart speaker market, according to new estimates shared today by Strategy Analytics.

Apple was the number six worldwide smart speaker market vendor, shipping fewer speakers than Amazon, Google, Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.


Amazon was the number one smart speaker vendor in the world during Q4 2019, shipping an estimated 15.8 million speakers for 28.3 percent market share. Google came in second with 13.9 million speakers shipped and 24.9 percent market share, followed by Chinese brands Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.

Apple shipped one million more HomePods in Q4 2019 than it did in Q4 2018 when it shipped 1.6 million, marking a 65 percent increase in growth. That didn't translate to a major increase in market share though as Apple ships so many fewer speakers than other brands.

The overall smart speaker market was up 44.7 percent with 55.7 million total shipments, up from the 38.5 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Strategy Analytics says that it expects 2020 to be another record year for smart speaker sales despite the disruption to supply and demand caused by the coronavirus.

There's no word on whether Apple will be able to increase speaker shipments in 2020, as Strategy Analytics says consumers are drawn to low prices.
"Consumer appetite for smart speakers remained undimmed during the all-important Q4 period as newly launched devices with improved feature sets and audio performance helped drive record quarterly shipments. Consumers across the world were once again enticed by scarcely believable deals from leading brands such as Google, Amazon, Baidu and Alibaba, while Google in particular stepped up its giveaway promotional activity in partnership with brands such as YouTube and Spotify."
Apple's HomePod is priced at $299 in the United States and is available in a limited number of countries. Apple is rumored to be working on a lower-cost version of the ‌HomePod‌ that will be released at some point in 2020, so that could potentially boost sales depending on whether its price point can match some of the much cheaper speakers offered by other vendors.

Another smart speaker sales report recently suggested that Amazon will hold on to its position as the number one smart speaker vendor through at least 2021.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple Matched or Surpassed Samsung for Smartphone Shipments in Q4 2019

Apple matched or overtook Samsung to become the world's biggest smartphone maker in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to new data from market tracking firms.

A new report by Strategy Analytics put Apple's iPhone shipments for the fourth quarter of last year at 70.7 million units, slightly ahead of Samsung's estimated 68.8 million.


Apple grabbed first position with 19 percent global smartphone marketshare, while Samsung claimed second position, staying flat at 18 percent. Huawei dipped to 15 percent share in third place. Full-year smartphone shipments totaled 1.4 billion units in 2019, according to Strategy Analytics.
"Apple ‌iPhone‌ shipments rose 7 percent annually from 65.9 million units worldwide in Q4 2018 to 70.7 million in Q4 2019. This was Apple's best growth performance since 2015. Apple's global smartphone marketshare has lifted from 18 percent to 19 percent in the past year. Apple is recovering, due to cheaper iPhone 11 pricing and healthier demand in Asia and North America."
Research firms are forced to estimate global smartphone sales because Apple stopped providing its own ‌iPhone‌ figures in January 2019, while Samsung gives a total number that includes smartphones and feature phones.

As a result, there are inconsistencies between market researchers. For example, IHS Markit have the positions of the two biggest players flipped, with Samsung at 70.7 million and Apple at 67.7 million. As Bloomberg notes, the consensus is that there's essentially no longer any daylight between the two dominant brands in mobile phones.

Apple's approximate tie with Samsung is due to a recent surge in ‌iPhone‌ sales, which brought in $56 billion in revenue for 8 percent growth during the December quarter, according to the company's latest financial results.

The ‌‌iPhone 11‌‌ was the top-selling ‌‌iPhone‌‌ every week during the quarter, and the three new ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models were Apple's most popular iPhones. The company reported $22.2 billion in profit on $91.8B revenue, making the quarter the best in Apple's history in terms of revenue and profit, topping the first fiscal quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, Samsung this week reported a 38 percent decline in profit. The Korean company saw a boost in its mobile business, but it wasn't enough to offset declines in its component operations, mainly due to falling memory chip prices.

Samsung's mobile business increased 67 percent to $2.13 billion, while its revenue increased 7 percent to $21.1 billion. But soft demand in its display business and sliding LCD prices saw its operating profit slump 57 percent, while revenue dropped 11 percent.

According to IHS Market figures, Samsung shipped significantly more smartphones than Apple over the whole of last year – 295 million in total, compared to Apple's 193 million.


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Apple Watch Sales Grew to 6.8 Million Units in Q3 2019, up 51% From Last Year

Apple shipped an estimated 6.8 million smartwatches in the third quarter of 2019, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.


Apple doesn't disclose Apple Watch sales in its earnings reports, grouping the wrist-worn device under its "Other Products" category, so we have do go from estimated figures, which can vary between research firms.

If Strategy Analytics' figures are accurate, ‌Apple Watch‌ shipments are up 51 percent compared to the third quarter of last year.
Apple shipped 6.8 million smartwatches worldwide in Q3 2019, rising an above-average 51 percent from 4.5 million in Q3 2018. ‌Apple Watch‌ remains a long way ahead of the chasing pack and its global smartwatch marketshare has grown from 45 percent to 48 percent in the past year. ‌Apple Watch‌ continues to fend off strong competition from hungry rivals like Fitbit and Samsung. ‌Apple Watch‌ owns half the worldwide smartwatch market and remains the clear industry leader.

The figures suggest Apple's closest wearables rival remains Samsung, which shipped 1.9 million smartwatches in Q3 and took 13.4 percent of the global market share. Fitbit, which was recently acquired by Google, dropped to third place, losing just under 4 percent of its market share (11.3 percent).

According to the report, the global smartwatch market grew considerably, with shipments reaching 14 million units in total, up 42 percent year on year. Notably, ‌Apple Watch‌ growth outpaced overall market growth, indicating that Apple is eating an increasingly bigger slice of the burgeoning wearables sector.


Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Apple Watch Was Number One Smart Watch in Q2 2019 With an Estimated 5.7M Units Shipped

The Apple Watch accounted for close to half of all smart watches shipped in the second quarter of 2019, according to a new report shared this afternoon by Strategy Analytics.

Apple shipped an estimated 5.7 million smart watches worldwide during the quarter, earning it 46 percent marketshare and its continued position as the number one smart watch company.

Apple shipped 5.7 million smartwatches worldwide in Q2 2019, rising an above-average 50 percent from 3.8 million in Q2 2018. Apple Watch remains a long way ahead of the chasing pack and its global smartwatch marketshare has grown to 46 percent this quarter, up from 44 percent a year ago. Apple Watch has fended off strong competition from hungry rivals like Fitbit. Apple remains the clear smartwatch market leader.
There were 12.3 million smart watches shipped in total in the second quarter of 2019. Apple's closest competitor Samsung shipped 2 million smart watches, while Fitbit, the number three smart watch vendor, shipped 1.2 million smart watches.

Apple Watch shipments were significantly up year over year in the second quarter of 2019, with Apple having shipped 3.8 million smart watches in the second quarter of 2018. Apple's growth mirrors the overall growth in the smart watch market, which was up from 8.6 million units in Q2 2018.


Apple does not break down Apple Watch sales, instead including Apple Watch revenue in a Wearables, Home, and Accessories category, so Strategy Analytics' numbers are estimates.

During Apple's recently earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2019 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook said that wearables had an "absolute blowout" quarter with growth well over 50 percent. The Apple Watch set a new June quarter revenue record and reached millions of new users during the quarter.


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Apple Watch Sales Comprised Half of Smartwatch Market in 2018

Apple Watch maintained pole position in the smartwatch market over last year's fourth quarter as global smartwatch shipments continued to grow, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.


Apple shipped 9.2 million Apple Watch units during Q4 2018, according to the report, rising 18 percent from 7.8 million units in Q4 2017. Global smartwatch shipments meanwhile grew 56 percent annually to reach a record 18 million units in the same quarter.

Apple's global smartwatch marketshare actually slipped to 51 percent this quarter, down from 67 percent a year ago, but Apple held on to first position with a 51 percent global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung jumped to second place, overtaking Fitbit and Garmin.

The research corroborates an earlier report from consumer research firm The NPD Group that Apple Watch is the "clear market leader" in the U.S. smartwatch market, but it also underlines the growing threat of rivals like Samsung, which continues to invest heavily in wearables that are compatible with both Android devices and iPhones.
"Apple's global smartwatch marketshare slipped to 51 percent this quarter, down from 67 percent a year ago," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. "Apple Watch is losing marketshare to Samsung and Fitbit, whose rival smartwatch portfolios and retail presence have improved significantly in the past year."
Apple doesn't reveal Apple Watch unit sales from its overall earnings. But in a recent earnings call for the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, CEO Tim Cook said the company's wearables revenue was being driven by the "amazing popularity" of Apple Watch and AirPods, and that the category was "approaching the size of a Fortune 200 company."

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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HomePod Estimated to Have Just 4% Market Share Worldwide Despite 45% Sales Growth Last Quarter

HomePod shipments totaled 1.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 45 percent increase on a year-over-year basis, according to Strategy Analytics. Despite the growth, the research firm estimates that Apple's share of the worldwide smart speaker market was just 4.1 percent during the quarter.


By comparison, Amazon and Google commanded the market with an estimated 13.7 million and 11.5 million smart speakers shipments respectively. The two companies combined for an estimated 65.5 percent market share in the quarter.


A lot of this comes down to pricing. At $349, the HomePod is significantly more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home. In particular, the smaller Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini models were available for as low as $25 during the holiday season, a fraction of the cost of a HomePod.

"Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon. Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home mini," CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said last month.

To improve sales, many resellers offered the HomePod for $249 during the holiday season, and $279 is a commonly seen price too.

Second is the fact that the HomePod is not so smart, as many reviews found, due to Siri's shortcomings compared to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Apple recently restructured its Siri team as it works to make improvements.

A third reason is availability. Apple launched the HomePod two to three years after its largest competitors, and sales remain limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong. Amazon and Google smart speakers are available in more countries.

Last year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments falling "far below market expectations." It could end up being a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

Of course, the Strategy Analytics data is estimated to begin with. Apple does not disclose HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category in its earnings reports alongside the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod touch, and other accessories.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple Shipped 14.5M iPads in Holiday Quarter According to Strategy Analytics

Apple shipped an estimated 14.5 million iPads in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.


Apple no longer discloses iPad, iPhone, or Mac unit sales in its earnings reports, leaving us with these estimated figures, which can vary quite significantly between research firms. With the iPhone, for example, estimated shipments have ranged from 65.9 million to 68.4 million to 71.7 million for the quarter.

Apple reported sales of 13.2 million iPads in the fourth quarter of 2017, when it was still disclosing unit sales, so the Strategy Analytics data suggests that iPad unit sales have grown nearly 10 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Strategy Analytics estimates that the iPad's average selling price was $463, an increase of just over four percent from $445 in the year-ago quarter. This sounds unsurprising, as Apple raised prices with its new iPad Pro lineup in 2018, with the cheapest model starting at $799 compared to $649 in 2017.

Apple remained the world's most popular tablet vendor, easily topping Samsung's estimated 7.5 million tablet shipments in the quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Amazon, Huawei, and Lenovo round off the top five with an estimated 5.5 million, 4.6 million, and 2.3 million shipments respectively.


On an operating system basis, however, Android tablets from multiple brands still commanded an estimated 60 percent of the market.

Apple reported iPad revenue of $6.7 billion in the quarter, a 17 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad mini 5, iPad

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Strategy Analytics: Apple Shipped an Estimated 65.9 Million iPhones in Holiday Quarter

Apple shipped an estimated 65.9 million iPhones during the first fiscal quarter of 2019 (aka the fourth calendar quarter of 2018) according to new data shared today by Strategy Analytics.

As of this quarter, Apple is no longer providing a breakdown of unit sales of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, so we will not have concrete data on how well the iPhone is selling going forward.


Apple in Q1 2018 sold 77.3 million iPhones, which would mean Apple sold 11.4 million fewer iPhones in Q1 2019 if Strategy Analytics' estimates are correct, marking a 15 percent decline in sales year-over-year.
Global iPhone shipments fell sharply, due to high retail pricing, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, intense competition from rivals like Huawei, battery replacement programs driving longer ownership cycles, diminished carrier subsidies in some developed markets, and flagging demand in some emerging markets.
Apple's Q1 2019 iPhone revenue was $52 billion, down from $61 billion in the year-ago quarter, also a 15 percent decline. The drop in iPhone revenue led to total revenue of $84.31 billion, down from $88.3 billion in Q1 2018.

Despite the decline in iPhone sales, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has attributed to weakness in China and fewer upgrades, Q1 2019 was Apple's second-best in terms of both revenue and profit, coming in behind only the first fiscal quarter of 2018.


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Strategy Analytics: Apple Shipped an Estimated 2.5 Million Fewer iPhones in China in 2018 Than in 2017

Apple shipped an estimated 34.2 million iPhones in China in 2018, down from 36.7 million in 2017, according to new data shared today by Strategy Analytics.

During the fourth calendar quarter of 2018 (Apple's first fiscal quarter), Apple shipped 10.9 million iPhones, down from 14 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.


Apple surpassed Xiaomi to become the number four smartphone vendor in the country, but its iPhone sales fell short of Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo, all Chinese companies that make more affordable smartphones.


For 2018 in total, Apple came in fifth in China, trailing behind the four major Chinese smartphone vendors. Huawei was the number one vendor in China, shipping an estimated 105.1 million smartphones during the year. OPPO shipped 82.8 million, Vivo shipped 79.3 million, and Xiaomi shipped 50 million.

Apple lost market share in the fourth quarter of 2018, but gained ground overall in 2018. Apple held 10.1 percent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2018, down from 11.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. Apple's total 2018 marketshare was 8.4 percent, up from 8 percent.


Despite the slight year-over-year jump, Apple trails all major Chinese smartphone vendors in the country when it comes to market share, including Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

Fourth quarter smartphone shipments in China declined by 11 percent annually, with a total of 107.9 million units shipped by all vendors. That's down from 121.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Smartphone shipments also fell 11 percent annually, with 408.5 million smartphones shipped in China in 2018 down from 459.6 million in 2017.

Overall smartphone shipments have declined for five consecutive quarters in China, which has heavily impacted Apple. Apple recently downgraded its guidance for the first fiscal quarter of 2019 (which is the fourth calendar quarter), blaming the move on poor iPhone sales, primarily in China.

Strategy Analytics Director Linda Sui said that the holiday quarter was Apple's worst performance since early 2017. Apple's iPhone shipments have dropped on a year-over-year basis in China for 8 of the last 12 quarters.
Apple has been under pressure in China for the past three years. Ongoing patent battles with Qualcomm are a distraction, while Apple is being heavily criticized for its expensive retail prices. Apple is in danger of pricing the iPhone out of China."
To boost sales in China, Apple has cut the prices of its iPhones for third-party distributors in China, allowing distributors to provide iPhones at lower prices for Chinese customers. The biggest discounts have been on the iPhone XR.

Apple's lowered pricing comes just ahead of the Chinese New Year in February, with Apple hoping the discounts will lure shoppers into purchasing a new iPhone during the holiday.


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