Hot on the heels of announcements that Apple has experienced its first year-on-year decline in 13 years, a new report reveals that the smartphone market as a whole shrank six per cent in the first quarter of 2016.
UK research firm Juniper Research estimates that in the first quarter, smartphone shipments only reached 320 million units.
While a drop in sales in iPhones is a significant setback for Apple’s image, Juniper attributes the decline in sales to a “larger than expected success” of the iPhone 6 in 2015. With the 6S offering only minor improvements, sales have in a sense corrected themselves to normal rates.
However, the firm noted that Apple faces both legislative opposition and economic turbulence in China.
Nearly all smartphone brands faced varying degrees of decline with the exception of Samsung and Huawei, who have seen mild and moderate growth respectively.
Among those who came out mostly unscathed are Xiaomi and Lenovo. Both the former, which had been growing by leaps and bounds, and the latter which is undergoing rebranding in Western markets since discontinuing the Motorola brand, saw only around a one per cent decline YOY.
The report noted that Microsoft Lumia sales declined “sharply” to 2.3 million units while Sony saw a staggering 57 per cent YOY decline.
This figure exceeds even BlackBerry’s misfortunes of a 53 per cent drop despite efforts to renew interest with its Android-based Priv smartphone.
The company also faces backlash from recent revelations that the Canadian phone maker had given the RCMP access to its consumer smartphone encryption as far back as in 2010.
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Juniper said that it expects the company to exit the smartphone market entirely “in the near future.”
The firm expects the decline to continue, much like the drawn-out slowdown in PC sales, unless companies can tap into emerging markets in developing countries, which requires even lower prices.