(Reuters) - Smartphone shipments in China fell between 12-15.5 percent last year, market data indicated, suggesting a bleak outlook for the sector at a time when behemoths Apple and Samsung Electronics have already issued dour forecasts.
China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a research institute under the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said shipments dropped 15.5 percent to roughly 390 million units for the year, with a 17 percent slump in December.
The Chinese smartphone market, the world's largest, could shrink another 3 percent this year, Canalys said, in what would be a third straight year of declines. Smartphone shipments in the country had fallen 4 percent in 2017.
The plunge in Chinese shipments expected in 2018 could lead to a 1 percent contraction in the global smartphone market, Canalys said.
China boasts the world's biggest smartphone market, but a slowing economy, exacerbated by a trade war with the United States, has seen demand for gadgets drop across the tech sector.
"Weaker economic growth and lower consumer confidence will likely hit the premium segment well into the first half of 2019," Nguyen said.
"Apple certainly was the biggest victim of this trend, with added effects from the fact that it's lagging behind local competitors in innovation and attractive pricing," he said.
Apple rival and supplier Samsung on Tuesday estimated that its fourth-quarter earnings plunged 29 percent and that profitability would remain subdued in the current quarter due to weak demand for its memory chips.
Samsung controls over a fifth of the global market, followed by Huawei, which has a 14-percent market share, Canalys said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)