Apple yesterday reported its first ever year-on-year fall in iPhone sales when it released results for the three months ended March, 2016, and issued another sales warning for the period ending June, 2016. The fear now is that momentum is turning against the technology giant with stiffer competition for smartphones in the fast-growing greater China region from domestic brands like Huawei, ZTE, Meizu, Oppo and Xiaomi.
The company yesterday reported a 16.3% fall in unit sales of iPhones in the period to end March, 2016, after only a marginal increase in peak sales period leading up to Christmas, 2015. With iPhone sales this quarter now also expected to be down – all eyes will be on performance over the next two quarters and, most importantly, the three months ending December, 2016.
To date, Apple has moved a total of 947.75 million iPhones since the first iconic device left the shops in June, 2007, and is forecast by mobilesquared to sell a further 40.65 million in the current quarter – down 14% year-on-year (based on Apple's total revenue guidance of US$41-43 million) – lifting total sales to 988.4 million.
With an estimated decrease of 17% in sales during the three months to end-September, mobilesquared forecasts the 1 billionth iPhone will now be sold towards the end of July 27, 2016 - probably in Europe or the Americas.
Nevertheless, mobilesquared does not expect a marked reduction in Apple's overall share of active smartphones in use over the next three years. According to research for our new databook — Global subscriptions & smartphone forecasts by country (2015-18) — there were approximately 2.74 billion smartphones in use worldwide end-2015 and we forecast this will reach 4.48 billion by end-2018.
In 20 key markets tracked by operating system, representing around 71% of total smartphones worldwide, mobilesquared found that Apple had 21.5% market share end-2015 and forecast a fall to 20.8% by end-2018. Nevertheless, this still means that the company will see total active iPhones rise over the period from 421.27 million to 660.56 million.
For individual subscription and smartphone forecasts for 200 markets and OS breakdowns for 20 key countries, please see our latest databook — Global subscriptions & smartphone forecasts by country (2015-18)