Decline in Global iPhone Shipments Highlights Apple’s Challenges Amid Market Growth

Apple experienced a notable decline in global iPhone shipments, falling nearly 10% in the first quarter of the year. The decline becomes part of an overall 7.8% global increase in smartphone shipments, buoyed by strong performances from Chinese manufacturers.

International Data Corporation report showed that Samsung could far outpace Apple by 10 million units shipped over the same period.

This quarter is a blow to Apple, as it hobbles through what could be one of its most challenging years, with iPhone shipments most contributing to its revenue stream. In the previous quarter, iPhone sales brought in $69.7 billion, with the closest margin being services at $23.1 billion. The company’s slump in iPhone sales is most keenly felt in China, one of the most important markets for Apple. That comes on top of the company having recently scrapped its expensive electric vehicle program that it developed for ten years. Like many other major tech companies, Apple too is facing with high-stakes legal battles, including a US Justice Department antitrust lawsuit filed last month.

While Apple struggles, the overall smartphone market is showing signs of recovery. It mentions that it has grown in the global smartphone sector for the third consecutive quarter, with a year-on-year rise of 7.8% and an annual increase in shipments of 8.1%.

This was a recovery from a plunge that had seen shipments fall below 2013 levels amid weakened demand and inflationary pressures.

IDC indicated that the top five vendors in this market observed huge changes, which signals a shift in the market. “This indicates a shift in power among the Top 5 companies, and this will likely continue as market players adjust their strategies in a post-recovery world,” said Nabila Popal, research director for IDC. While both Apple and Samsung suffered negative growth, Samsung seems relatively placed well as it has regained the top position globally in terms of shipments. In particular, the report indicates that Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi and Transsion shipped up around 34% and 85% year-on-year, respectively, from the same quarter last year. It would, therefore, seem that the horizon for the smartphone market is changing and, in a big way, Chinese brands are gaining ground.

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