TrendForce: iPhone sales unlikely to see turn-around this year

In a new report, TrendForce reports that the worldwide smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2016 totaled 292 million units, down 18.6% from the previous quarter and a year-on-year decline of 1.3%. The decrease was mainly attributed to market saturation. 

Leading brands such as Apple and Samsung no longer have the same growth momentum as before, so the overall shipments depended on contributions from Chinese brands and rising demand in India and other emerging markets, according to the global market research firm. Avril Wu, TrendForce smartphone analyst, said the combined shipments (including exports) from Chinese brands in the first quarter reached 125 million units, surpassing the combined shipments from Apple and Samsung for the first time. Chinese brands accounted for 42.9% of the global smartphone shipments, up from 41.5% in the previous quarter.

TrendForce opines that Apple is unlikely to make a turnaround for this year’s shipments with iPhone SE. the research firm says Apple posted its largest quarterly decline ever for iPhone shipments, plummeting 43.8% from 75 million units in last year’s fourth quarter to 42 million units in this first quarter. What’s more, Apple’s management of channel inventories have become more conservative before the launch of its next iPhone. So TrendForcehas lowered its iPhone shipment estimate for this year to 213 million units, an almost 10% drop compared with the previous year.

“As the budget model, iPhone SE will support Apple’s overall shipments in the second quarter before the next major iPhone release. However, iPhone SE is going to face severe price competition from Chinese branded products in its target market, which is the mid-range device segment,” Wu said. “This year’s iPhone SE shipments are projected to come in below 15 million units and they are unlikely to help turn around the weak annual shipment result for Apple.”

Samsung’s first-quarter shipments exceeded expectations and arrived at 81 million units, up 2.5% from the prior quarter. according to TrendForce.