It is not just the smartphone market in China where Chinese OEMs are dominating and eating into Apple’s market share. The latest numbers from Canalys indicate that Chinese OEMs captured a record 32 percent of the European smartphone market in Q4 2018. A similar story played out in Thailand where Apple saw its shipment decline by over 50 percent.
In Europe, while Samsung continued to remain the market leader with a 28.7 percent market share, it saw its shipment decline by 0.2 million units. Apple also managed to remain the second largest smartphone vendor and shipped 14.7 million iPhones, a decline of 6 percent from last year.
On the other hand, Huawei and Xiaomi saw their market share increase exponentially. Huawei shipped 13.3 million smartphones in Q4 2018 and registered a growth of 54 percent for the entire year. Xiaomi also posted solid growth and saw its shipments increase to 3.4 million units in Q4 2018 from 2.1 million in the same quarter in 2018.
Huawei will likely displace Apple as the second largest smartphone vendor in Europe in Q1 or Q2 of 2019. The launch of the company’s flagship P30 series in late-March should help in this regard. Xiaomi is also expected to continue its impressive growth as it continues expanding into more markets in Europe. It is expected to launch its flagship smartphone, the Mi 9, for the European market at MWC 2019.
As for Apple, until and unless it reduces iPhone prices in key European markets, it is likely to continue losing market share to Chinese OEMs.
A similar story has played out in Thailand, one of the largest Southeast Asian smartphone market. While Oppo and Huawei posted an impressive growth of 69.8 percent and 73.4 percent YoY, respectively, Apple shipments declined by 52.2 percent. Oppo managed to overtake Samsung as the smartphone market leader in Thailand thanks to the impressive performance of its F7 and F9 series. Huawei also did extremely well and shipped 645k smartphones in Q4 2018 which allowed it to surpass Vivo in terms of market share.
While Apple primarily blamed the slowdown in iPhone sales in China for missing its Q4 2018 revenue expectations, its clear that iPhone sales are slowing down all over the world. The company is facing stiff competition from Chinese OEMs and until it gets around to reducing iPhone prices, I doubt it would be able to compete with them.
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