China’s smartphone market saw its first ever annual decline as shipments fell 4 per cent in the year 2017, according to a report shared by research firm Canalys . China is considered the world’s largest smartphone market and one of the most important, but has seen declining growth in the last couple of quarters. According to Canalys, shipments for smartphones stood at 459 million units in China for all of 2017.
The research firm points out that the reason for this was also the poor fourth quarter in 2017 where China’s smartphone shipments were down by nearly 14 per cent. Canalys called the fourth quarter as the worst in terms of year-on-year performance for the market as shipments dropped by more than 14 per cent to just under 113 million units.
In terms of individual vendors and how they performed in Q4, 2017, Huawei managed to do well in the shrinking market and saw shipments grow by nearly 9 per cent. The company shipped 24 million units of smartphones and remains on top in its home market. But there was bad news for other homegrown players like Oppo and Vivo, both of whom saw shipments fall by 16 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. However, the two vendors are still number two and number three in the China smartphone market.
Oppo’s shipments stood at 19 million smartphones, while Vivo shipped 17 million for the quarter. Finally, Apple was at number four in the market with 13 million units shipped in Q4. According to Canalys, Apple shipped around 7 million, iPhone X units to the China market alone. Xiaomi was down to number five in its home market.
According to the numbers shared by Canalys, it was China’s Huawei, which had the best ever quarter in its home market, and the company shipped a total of 90 million units in 2017 in the market. “Nova and Honor have successfully gained share from smaller vendors, such as Gionee and Meizu. Honor’s performance has complemented Huawei’s success, by contributing more than half of Huawei’s total shipments. But competition between Huawei and Honor is getting fierce, and Huawei must deal with possible internal cannibalization,” Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia said in a press statement.
The firm also said that while Oppo and Vivo saw dips in Q4, their overall growth for 2017 was positive. Still the research firm notes that the Chinese market has slowed down faster than expected and it will negatively impact Chinese vendors who have depended on home advantage for their growth. “The threat to vendors such as Gionee and Meizu is now closer than ever. There is little room left for the smaller vendors. We can expect a major market shake-up in China in 2018,” Canalys Research Analyst Hattie He said in a press statement.