Smartphone production could hit six-year low this quarter, no end in sight for industry free fall

Smartphone production could hit six-year low this quarter, no end in sight for industry free fall
The global smartphone industry badly needs 5G connectivity and foldable form factors to rapidly catch on and spread like wildfire. Otherwise, dwindling sales may not be able to bounce back anytime soon.

It’s not just Apple or Samsung, but the market in its entirety. “Breakout innovation is becoming harder to come by”, according to a new Business Insider report (via 9To5Mac) citing gloomy Credit Suisse estimates.

The Swiss financial services company’s analysts expect worldwide smartphone production to take a huge hit in the first three months of 2019, dropping from 357 million units between October and December 2018 to 289 million.

It’s worth highlighting that the former tally is not final either, but if the two projected figures prove accurate, the mobile hardware industry is looking at a 3 percent quarter-on-quarter decline in Q4 2018, followed by a massive 19 percent slump during the January - March 2019 timeframe.

While production doesn’t equal sales, that 289 million count still sounds pretty bad compared to the 334 million smartphones reportedly shipped over the first three months of 2018, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

In fact, that number would put global smartphone production at its lowest quarterly level since the beginning of 2013. Worse yet, Credit Suisse thinks the “bottom is not yet in sight”, as the industry’s recent free fall could carry on a while longer.

It’s obviously hard to say how much longer, but if companies don’t find new ways to stand out and entice faster upgrades, smartphones may slowly but steadily follow in the PCs’ footsteps.

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17 Comments

1. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Well as for Apple, they should lower the price iPhones. Not rock bottom low but something a little more realistic, for example the 256Gb XS Max costs around $440 to build and yet the US market price is around $1249, that's around $800 difference that is like freakin' robbery. And that's just the US price alone, it's even priced higher in other countries like that same 256Gb model is priced at around $1600 in where I live.

5. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

India smartphone market grew last year (2018), and they sold an additional 15 million smartphones from the previous year (2017). Even China grew with it's home grown OEMs. Both countries have their home brands. Where as all the foreign OEMs dropped for both countries.

9. jacky899

Posts: 431; Member since: May 16, 2017

Reason for that is because their economy is suffering and the premium market is shrinking. The low and mid range phones always sell more in times of economic recession. Apple and foreign brands hardly have a presence in the low/mid range segment. But even then some Chinese OEMs took a big hit such as Xiaomi, which was once the largest smartphone manufacturer in China.

2. tokuzumi

Posts: 1929; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

2 things are happening simultaneously; Prices are skyrocketing for flagship models (S, Note, iPhone, Pixel), and phones don't age as quickly as they used to. I was excited and looking forward to getting a Pixel 3, but once Google announced base pricing would be $800, I had 0 interest in getting one. I currently have a 2016 Pixel, which replaced my HTC 10. The only reason I had to replace my 10 was because the battery started failing, and I couldn't find anyone locally to replace the battery. Other than that, the phone was still very responsive and had amazing camera performance. It's not like 5 years ago where every new version of processor was actually a lot better than the previous. And cameras were a huge upgrade as well. Now manufacturers are just tweaking marginal improvements over the previous year.

3. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1579; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Only reason I have the Note 9 is I got it for $600 instead of $1000, I've never paid over $700 for a phone and a new phone isn't as necessary as it once was. There just isn't a big difference in performance between generations anymore. I still use my nearly 6 year old Note 3 around the house, besides the occasional stutter it still runs good. The SD800 in it will run PUBG smoothly on low settings, I've yet to find an app or game I've used besides fortnite that can't install and run on it. App's are designed to run on the lowest level of hardware possible. Screen wise, this is the 5th year of QHD screens, and on a tiny screen it's no different than 1080p to my eyes. We have also hit our limits on screen size, a bigger screen was once a reason to upgrade. Camera tech plateaued in 2016 when we dropped back to 12Mp for improved low light. We get new features and tricks, but switch into manual and little has changed. Storage keeps increasing, but the average person isn't using much, and unlimited data actually negated part of the need for massive storage. New versions of Android and iOS have failed to deliver any substantial or must have features.

8. BuffaloSouce unregistered

Thats because there's no creativity going on. These companies keep pumping out slabs of glass and metal that all feel and look the same. Go back to the early 2000s and you'll see those are the type of devices people still want today. LG was killing it with the Chocolate and enV phones. There's still a good demand out there for updated flip phones like the Razr and Katana. These prices are out of control to

14. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Apple and Samsung are just getting stupid with their prices and not offering any more.

18. Vancetastic

Posts: 1601; Member since: May 17, 2017

That’s stuff the fanboys don’t like there.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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