Like PC sales and tablets, smartphone sales were down in Q1, according to Gartner, IDC, TrendForce, and others.
IDC said smartphone shipment volumes for the first quarter of 2019 fell 6.6% on-year after a 4.9% year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter of 2018, and Gartner said Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019, totaling 373 million units.
Some of the decline can be attributed to the tariffs but the overall demand for premium smartphones has fallen off. When a smartphone costs more than a PC—upwards of a $1,000, and a new bunch of them come out every year, it’s really hard to get excited about running out and getting a new one. Also, while we wait for 5G, what’s the incentive to buy a new phone?
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker by shipment volume, earlier this year, introduced the Galaxy Fold—a nearly $2,000 foldable smartphone while the banned Chinese phone maker Huawei also announced a foldable phone that will cost around $2,600. Nonetheless, in the first quarter of 2019, Samsung retained the top spot in worldwide smartphone sales achieving 19.2% market share, according to Gartner.