According to recent data from strategy analytics, a market research company, in the third quarter of this year, global smartphone sales fell 8% year-on-year to 360 million. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of decline in global smartphone sales.
The third-party consulting firm attributed the plight of the smartphone industry to the significant reduction of subsidies from wireless operators, the longer user renewal cycle, inventory backlog in multiple regions and the lack of exciting hardware design innovation.
Compared with Chinese enterprises used to dancing in the Red Sea, Apple seems to be losing confidence in the quagmire of "middle-aged crisis". Although Apple's earnings and revenue reached a new high in the third quarter, the sales data of the three major electronic devices led by the iPhone were disappointing. Not only was the global sales volume of iPhone surpassed by Huawei, but also the share price fell sharply, repeatedly breaking through the market value of 1 trillion.
In addition to the downturn in the terminal market, Apple's new product launch at the end of last month can be called the most nonexistent Apple launch in history. For the forgotten MacBook Air, mac mini and iPad pro, in addition to the performance upgrades such as it screen, chip and hard disk capacity, the only impressive thing is the price rise.
Many people once thought that apple without jobs would no longer be the apple that can lead the global consumer market. However, with the sales and market value of Apple products singing all the way in the post jobs era, this worry and nostalgia for Steve jobs are slowly diluted.
After iphone6, it is difficult to have Apple products with revolutionary design language and functional innovation, which faithfully continues the gene left by jobs.
Apple is still Jobs's apple, but its ability to innovate the whole industry stayed on October 5, 2011. The price rise can be said to be the most thorough overdraft of "jobs". After the carnival of trillion market value, Apple's turning point has come.
Smartphone enters "arc top cycle"
The year-on-year decline in shipments in the smartphone market for four consecutive quarters is not an occasional phenomenon. This decline began as early as last year.
According to IDC's global quarterly mobile phone tracking data, global smartphone shipments fell by 0.5% in 2017, the first year-on-year decline since the launch of smartphones. Among them, shipments in the Chinese market decreased by nearly 5% in 2017, which is an important factor leading to the decline of global sales. EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) also decreased by 3.5%, and the U.S. market is relatively stable.
After a continuous decline in the first three quarters and a large decline in the third quarter, the total sales volume of the smartphone market this year will only continue to decline year-on-year in 2017. In addition to the well-known factors such as the high penetration rate of the smartphone market, the weakness of operator channels, the high inventory of mobile phone sales channels, and the lengthening of the exchange rate cycle, it does not matter if the industrial chain is highly mature.
The PC and home appliance industries that have entered the IT industry chain clearly show us the cruelty and boredom of the red sea hand to hand combat in the arc top cycle. The PC industry and home appliance industry, which were once very popular, began to become transparent after the market penetration was close to saturation and overcapacity.
According to the price and market positioning, we are making homogeneous choices among limited core component suppliers such as chips and storage, using the same batch of suppliers' materials, the same OEM, and even the hardware integration scheme is provided by a professional third party. Downstream terminal brand manufacturers have become the role of assembly and combination.
It is difficult to establish substantive differentiation between products of various brands. The performance of core components determines the selling point of products, which leads to the acceleration of the degree of liking the new and hating the old, and the life cycle of a single product is greatly compressed.
On the other hand, there is great uncertainty when resorting to perceptual factors such as brand marketing and appearance design. Under the industrial environment of short (product life cycle), flat (channel flat) and fast (market change), a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises gradually lose their R & D and design ability in the meager profits, eventually become assembly manufacturers and are quickly eliminated. The market will move towards rapid concentration at the top of the arc cycle.
Another major feature of the industrial arc top cycle is that the Chinese market begins to determine the pattern of the global market. At the same time, in the short and fast red sea competitive environment, China's leading enterprises show flexible competitiveness.
In the PC era, Lenovo has become a global leader in PC business after acquiring IBM, German MEDION AG, Japanese NEC PC business and Fujitsu's PC business respectively. As the core market accounting for nearly one-third of the global market share, the fluctuation of the Chinese market always affects the pattern of the global PC market.
In the field of household appliances, this performance is more obvious. After experiencing the scenery of high-speed growth period, foreign brands such as Japan and South Korea, which once swept the Chinese market, began to fail as soon as they switched to the Red Sea mode. Last year, the global market share of Chinese household appliances reached 56.2%, including TCL, Skyworth, Midea, Haier, Gree and other domestic brands, which not only dominated the Chinese market, but also made great achievements in global market expansion.
The performance of the mobile phone market for four consecutive quarters has begun to fully show the characteristics of the arc top cycle. The scale of China's mobile phone market has been close to one third of the total global mobile phone market. The dependence of the world's major mobile phone brand manufacturers on the Chinese market is deepening, and the quality of the Chinese market also determines the performance of the global mobile phone market.
Although Samsung still holds the top position in the global mobile phone market share, its market share in the Chinese market has collapsed to less than 1%, which directly led to its weak growth, with a year-on-year decrease of 13% in the third quarter of this year. Under the dual pressure of declining sales and weak product innovation, professional managers are playing a good man in the capital market by deeply overdrawing the apple brand.
Behind the apple boom, there is an amazing decline. If Apple still fails to make decent technological innovation and product function design leading the consumer market in subsequent new products, it may exhaust the last patience of loyal consumers for many years.
5g can't be a "life-saving straw"
Ryan Reith, vice president of IDC's all mobile phone tracking report project, is optimistic about 5g. He believes that the full deployment of 5g network is a great driving force for the smartphone market.
In my opinion, the situation may be just the opposite. The deployment of 5g will completely open the prelude to the decline of the smartphone market.
The industry is looking forward to 5g, because several core technologies of 5g are the necessary foundation to support the scenario of scientific and technological development. In the future, wireless networks will deploy more than 10 times more wireless nodes than existing stations. In the coverage area of macro stations, the proportion of active users to stations may reach 1:1, that is, users and service nodes correspond one by one. The ultra dense heterogeneous network 5g network will support more than 1000 times the growth of traffic in the future.
It can be predicted that the audio, video, image and other services for large-scale users will usher in a rapid growth, 5g technology will play in and out of the content distribution network, and an intelligent virtual network will be added to the traditional network to carry the massive and high-capacity new transmission content. D2D and M2M technologies will also usher in large-scale development after the popularity of 5g network. Short distance data direct transmission technology and intelligent communication interaction between machines will endow the machine terminal itself with more "wisdom".
When 5g reaches the popularization scale of 4G network, the number of interconnected terminals in the world will exceed 50 billion, truly realizing the interconnection of all things. Cloud computing has entered the mobile end in the 5g era. The mobile intelligent terminal in the mobile network will connect to the remote service provider in an on-demand and easy to expand way to obtain the required resources.
With the support of a new generation communication network based on 5g and smart phones, multi-modal smart terminals will fully penetrate into all individual independent life scenes. It has gradually become clear that the smart home scene ecology created by Amazon Alexa voice system and echo smart speaker, and many Internet giants and car companies are struggling to promote automatic driving and smart car ecology. And major developed economies have planned smart cities.
Smart phones will not only face the diversion of multi form and multi entry smart terminals in the future, but also break the uniqueness of mobile phone functions. In terms of the layout of future multipolar terminals, Apple has not yet handed over a qualified answer. As the world's most valuable technology company, Apple's investment in R & D in 2017 was lower than that of traditional technology giants such as Google, Microsoft and Intel.
Apple without jobs, in addition to continuing to run wildly in the dividends of ecology and product planning left by jobs, its mediocrity in the development of new fields and product technological innovation has exceeded people's expectations.
"Mediocre fate" under trillion market value
As the successor appointed by jobs, cook is the loyal executor of jobs' strategy. He has excellent supply chain management and cost control ability. On the product roadmap planned by jobs, he maximized the consumer cultural influence and market appeal created by jobs for apple, and created an apple with the most money and the highest market value in constant compromise.
Apple's growth crisis has been fully exposed when Apple's mobile phone creates high profits by raising prices on the basis of a sharp decline in sales, and throws out a stock return plan of $100 billion at the peak of market value with a cash reserve of $285 billion, but its R & D investment is nearly double that of Amazon, the second largest technology company by market value.
There are many examples of prosperity and decline in the mobile phone industry. From Ericsson, Motorola to Nokia, when indulging in existing achievements, losing the power of innovation and change, and missing technological revolution and key market opportunities, a giant often collapses much faster than its hard-earned market position.
Apple under the feast of trillion market value is Jobs's last spiritual totem.