Suppliers say demand for smartphones lags heading into the holiday shopping season

Suppliers say demand for smartphones lags heading into the holiday shopping season
Two suppliers to the top three smartphone manufacturers in the world (Samsung, Huawei and Apple) say that heading into the important holiday shopping season, demand for smartphones is sluggish. Warren Chen, CEO of a company that provides chargers to the big three, Lite-On Technology, puts the blame on the U.S.-China trade war. The executive says, "The trade war waged by U.S. President Donald Trump is making a matured smartphone market even more conservative."

What kind of downward spiral should we expect to see during the fourth quarter? The CEO of lens maker Largan Precision, Adam Lin, says we should see October smartphone sales slightly weaker than September's sales. But that will be followed by what he calls "significantly weaker" November sales.

Several technology analysts concur with the executives. Nicole Tu, a tech analyst at Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting, points to the comment from Largan's Lin and says that this quarter will be a difficult one for the smartphone industry. The dire forecasts come less than a month after Apple released the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Two weeks from today, the more affordable iPhone XR will be launched. Next Tuesday, Huawei will introduce two new top shelf models, the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.


The hot tech item during last year's holiday shopping season was the smart speaker, with low-priced models like the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini accounting for most of the category's sales. We could see something similar this year; the latest survey from Nielsen finds that only 24% of U.S. households own one or more smart speakers.

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28 Comments

1. Fred3

Posts: 588; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Majority of the people don't have $1000+ to throw on a smartphone every year. The sales will drop more every year as the prices rise.

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5762; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, phones this year got far more expensive and didn't back it up with hardware/software improvements

11. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

The iPhone yes. The anite? No. The Note 9 is worth $1000. But they don't have to charge that much for it. They could have sold it and thr Bite 8 for $850 and sold more of them and made more money. Samsung just wants to make as much as it can off lower sales. Do they cab make less product, which cost them less money. But they don't sell enough of them and the last S9, to rewap the benefit Apple does. I see zero reason the S9 cozy $300 more than it use to cost. I don't see how the Note which was $700 is $300 more now. They arent doing anything that much more then they did then. This goes quadruple for the iPhone. Today's iPhone isn't doing much more than it did 5 years ago. The tech is faster and slightly better. But it's not $300 better. The 512GB Not 9 is worth about $999, when you consider how much a high quality SSD of thr same size costs. But Samsung makes it own. It should be cheaper. And Apple charging even more than Samsung who buys everything 3rd party which is chesper than 1st party. They are both being greedy

14. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Calm down techie.

21. Vokilam

Posts: 1387; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

As I read this, i imagine a sweaty 12 year old typing away with smoke fizzing out of his ears...

15. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

That's why 2 year plan/contract exist, or sell your old phone and get a new one, or borrow some money (https://www.phonearena.com/news/Americans-new-201​8-iPhone-debt-financing_id108696)

2. Fred3

Posts: 588; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Majority of the people don't have $1000+ to throw on a smartphone every year. The sales will drop more every year as the prices rise.

3. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Once big retailers start advertising their deals, I'm sure it will pick up.

4. OneLove123

Posts: 1268; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Yep, BOGO! Even on a new iPhone.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31670; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple and Samsung are going to hit a wall, with these high ass prices. Pretty soon they’ll have to lower them, customers will speak with their wallets.

12. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Apple will never lower their prices. I doubt Samsung would too.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31670; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

If they’re forced to, they will.

16. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

They wont. However they'll keep releasing sub $800 for cheapest base model flagship (XR, and soon S10). They'll keep the top model above $1000.

20. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Samsung has competition with other Android manufacturers, so they have to lower at some point. Apple is the only one with IOS. If iPhone sales drop below 200M, the price will go down. But not before.

29. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Agree Consumers are realizing they have a lot more choices of just as good phones at a cheaper price. Right now the note line gives what i want but, if Samsung was to do away with the note line i would go to something else with a better price.

30. darkkjedii

Posts: 31670; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Same here. It’s not android that keeps me with a Note, it’s Samsung. The vast majority of what I love about the Note, is Samsung experience, and the hardware and S-Pen. If those go, I go.

32. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Yep I think i would go to one+ or maybe LG. Might look at Huawei also.

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 31670; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I’d love to see Samsung buckle down, and make its own OS. Samsung has the ability, and foundation to kill it with vertical integration.

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 31670; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple and Samsung are going to hit a wall, with these high ass prices. Pretty soon they’ll have to lower them, customers will speak with their wallets.

8. Cat97

Posts: 1983; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I really hope that smartphone manufactures will come to their senses. Apple started a dangerous trend with the iPhone X, which could prove fatal for many "wanna sell expensive phones" manufacturers like Huawei or even Samsung.

17. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

That's why we should hope for OP and Pocophone get their success. So other manufacturers willing to follow them.

22. Alex_12

Posts: 62; Member since: May 30, 2018

OP isn’t cheap anymore... Not to mention their specs and quality are not in pair with Samsung, Apple, Huawei or even Google, not even close. OP is not a bad phone by any means, but they are not cheap as they used to be and you just can’t compare with the big companies. Samsung has the best displays, technology and design. Apple is Apple. Huawei brings one of the best hardware and design. Google brings the best camera, software, AI and security.

9. whatev

Posts: 2428; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Ok, I’ll wait for the next news tomorrow saying the iPhone XS is outselling the 2017 iPhone trio, then 5 minutes later another one where apple is doomed because the iPhone is selling less than the GS9, these news at this time of the year are so boring, the same thing every single f***ing year *rollseyes

10. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

I dont believe a word of it. It's reverse psychology. They just want people to run out and buy phones.

18. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yep, supplier's demand didn't directly represent market demand, it only represent it's client demand (in this case Apple), and it indirectly represent future demand. If they believe holiday sales will be high, Apple should've increase it's component order from supplier right now, since it will take a while for supplier to produce it, then it will sent to assembly line, shipping it to warehouse, and so on. It will take more than a month from suppliers to end users. Probably Apple just have tons of iPhone in warehouse, they just making excuse to keep their shareholder calm down.

19. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yep, supplier's demand didn't directly represent market demand, it only represent it's client demand (in this case Apple), and it indirectly represent future demand. If they believe holiday sales will be high, Apple should've increase it's component order from supplier right now, since it will take a while for supplier to produce it, then it will sent to assembly line, shipping it to warehouse, and so on. It will take more than a month from suppliers to end users. Probably Apple just have tons of iPhone in warehouse, they just making excuse to keep their shareholder calm down.

28. geordie8t1

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

Prices are crazy, updates are iterative, innovation is lagging, market is saturated, people are not inclined to update because of the above....

31. biggles

Posts: 269; Member since: Oct 15, 2009

It's not just the high price tag, but that combined with the fact that it's likely to lose 70% of it's value in 12 months (based on trade-in value vs MSRP). With a hit like that, people aren't going to upgrade every year. Using the Note 9 as an example, it's projected value brand new today is $500-600 while it's price tag is $1000. Shocking that people don't respond well to being ripped off.

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