The global smartphone market is set to lose momentum over the course of this year, with its growth being expected to decline by 2.8-percent and amount to approximately 1.5 billion shipments in total, according to a new study conducted by TrendForce. The ultra-competitive state of the industry will affect the vast majority of original equipment manufacturers around the world, the research firm believes, claiming that Nokia and Apple are the only two smartphone brands that can count on growth in 2018. The weakening demand for smartphones is cited as the main reason for the shifting trend, having largely been prompted by a steadily declining number of replacement purchases, according to the new study.
That state of affairs is likely to prompt OEMs into pricing their offerings in an even more aggressive manner in order to increase their chances of capturing a falling number of sales, consequently eating into their profit margins, TrendForce's experts believe. The declining demand still isn't expected to lead to major changes in the overall market share, with Samsung still being expected to control over a fifth of the global market in 2018, though its share may decline from 21.9-percent to just over 20-percent. Apple and Huawei are expected to remain the world's second and third largest smartphone vendors, respectively, whereas Xiaomi has a chance to overtake OPPO and Vivo as both of the Chinese sister firms are projected to see their market share decline this year. On the other hand, the Beijing-based consumer electronics startup has been recording some immense growth over the course of 2017 and should be capable of maintaining that momentum, TrendForce notes.
Xiaomi's rapidly improving performance is still largely reliant on India, the world's fastest-growing smartphone market and the only remaining country with hundreds of millions of potential smartphone buyers who still aren't showing any signs of upgrade fatigue, with many of them being yet to buy their first smartphones. The rising costs of components and a generally declining demand for handsets is expected to continue slowing down the market's growth on an international level, though India alone should still be enough to prevent it from stagnating in the immediate future, according to numerous industry trackers.