What happened: China’s smartphone shipments dropped 14% in 2018. Less than 400 million units were sold during the year, the lowest number since 2013. The figure also marks the second year in row shipments have fallen. According to tech analysis firm Canalys, the economic slowdown in China and consumers’ weakened purchasing power are key factors in the lowered market figure. The company further predicts that the Chinese smartphone market will fall by 3% to 385 million units in 2019.
Why it’s important: As China witnessed its seventh consecutive quarterly decline in smartphone shipments at the end of 2018, some players are losing ground. Apple CEO Tim Cook partially blamed the country’s economic slowdown for its weakening sales earlier this month. Xiaomi, initially positioning itself as a highly cost-efficient brand, also failed to grow in China, with a 6% decrease in its full-year shipments. China’s shifts toward high-end products will result in heated market competition in high-end segments, analysts say.