Apple iPhone Sales Tanked at the End of 2018

February 21, 2019, 1:52 PM UTC

Apple doesn’t share iPhone unit sales any longer. But a new study from research firm Gartner is providing the details. And it’s ugly.

During the fourth quarter of 2018, global iPhone sales hit 64.5 million units, earning Apple 15.8% market share during the period. That was down from 73.2 million unit sales and 17.9% market share during the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Gartner. Apple’s drop was the biggest decline of any major smartphone maker during the period.

It was a similar—but not as severe—story for Samsung, which saw its sales fall from 74 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 70.8 million in 2018. Samsung’s market share fell from 18.2% to 17.3%, but it was still the top smartphone seller during the period.

Apple’s troubles have been well-documented. The company earlier this year was forced to revise its earnings guidance and posted somewhat disappointing fourth-quarter performance. Apple (AAPL) attributed its troubles to slow iPhone upgrades and worse-than-expected weakness in China.

Gartner’s check found similar softness for Apple in China. But the researcher didn’t necessarily see it everywhere. In fact, Gartner was quick to note that Apple’s China-based competitors, including Huawei and Oppo, had strong fourth quarters.

Huawei, for instance, saw sales climb from 43.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 60.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company’s market share rose from 10.8% to 14.8%. Oppo’s market share rose from 6.3% to 7.7% after sales grew to 31.6 million units—a big gain from the 25.7 million units it sold in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Overall, the smartphone market registered a successful end to 2018. According to Gartner’s data, 408.4 million smartphones were sold worldwide during the period, up from 407.8 million in the prior year.