Despite growth among some manufacturers, it seems as though smartphone shipments have actually slowed year-over-year by around 2.9-percent. That's according to the latest calculations from International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker and a subsequent report. Generally speaking, IDC points to a slowdown in handset shipments in China when looking for a cause behind the decline. The Chinese market dropped below 100 million units for the first time since 2013. However, there's also been a more general reduction overall in the number of new smartphone users. Of course, it goes without saying that things could improve over the course of 2018 but OEMs only managed to move 334.3 million units in the first quarter. That's as compared to 344.3 million units shipped during the same period in 2017 – a drop of nearly 10 million units.
Consumers have been updating to high-end smartphones, spurring some monetary growth but also has its pitfalls. In fact, IDC expects the saturation of high-dollar flagships to all but halt the upgrade cycle for the time being. That's reflected in the high competitiveness of the market and shown by the fluctuations between the top five OEMs. Samsung reports a 2.4-percent year-over-year decrease in Q1 market share but remained at the top with 23.4-percent of the overall market. Apple saw an increase in smartphone shipments by 2.8-percent. Huawei saw an increase in its share of around 13.8-percent over that same period, grabbing 11.8-percent of the overall market. Xiaomi did exceptionally well, growing in market share by 87.8-percent year-over-year. That's thanks in no small part to its success in new and emerging markets such as India, IDC says. At the same time, Oppo's market share decreased by approximately 7.5-percent, whereas the rest of the mobile manufacturers saw a collective decrease of around 18.5-percent.
The report is hardly surprising since smartphone sales have peaked, fallen, and rebounded since the technology's first iteration. However, sales and shipments will peak out at some point, with a finite number of consumers available to buy handset and the figures over the past several quarters may be indicative of that. In the meantime, IDC research manager Anthony Scarsella has predicted that a shift to affordable premium handsets may be required to drive the results in a positive direction in the second half of 2018.