According to a recent Ming-Chi Kuo report, in a market increasingly dominated by foldable phones and Huawei's return in China, Apple's iPhone shipments are expected to fall significantly this year.
Despite Apple's success as China's biggest smartphone provider last year, Kuo sees a notable turn in the tide. In his most recent supply chain assessment, Kuo highlights a fall in shipments of "key upstream semiconductor components," which might result in a 15% year-over-year decrease in iPhone shipments, with an estimated 200 million devices.
Apple to see one of the steepest drops among major global mobile phone brands in 2024
According to Kuo, the fall in weekly shipments in China, down 30% to 40% from the previous year, indicates that Apple's downward trajectory will continue. He expects Apple to see one of the steepest drops among major global mobile phone brands in 2024. China is a significant market for Apple, accounting for a sizable portion of iPhone sales, so any decline in sales there is significant.
Kuo attributes this fall to Huawei's recovery and the growing interest in foldable phones among high-end users in China, highlighting the impact of shifting consumer choices and market competitiveness—additionally, developments such as new phone designs incorporating generative artificial intelligence help reshape the landscape.
Meanwhile, Samsung appears to be capitalising on demand with its new Galaxy S24 series, which has seen a 5% to 10% boost in shipments thanks to the appeal of its AI-powered features.
Kuo believes Apple's shipment prediction for the iPhone 15 in the first half of 2024 has been cut lower. With no significant design changes predicted until at least 2025, Apple will confront hurdles in maintaining sales pace and ecosystem expansion.
The 15% drop forecast is based on analyst estimates and may be incorrect. Apple's services sector, which includes the App Store and Apple Music, is likely to continue growing, minimizing the impact on overall income. The long-term future of iPhone sales is uncertain, depending on how Apple responds to changing market dynamics.