2016 is not expected to be a great year for smartphones in terms of shipments. We expect to see less than double-digit growth for the first time ever. If first quarter shipment numbers computed by TrendForce are right, this year is getting off to a start that suggests an even worse 2016 for global smartphone shipments than previously forecast.
With industry leaders Samsung and Apple losing momentum, and with major markets saturated with handsets, global shipments hit 292 million units for Q1. Year-over-year, that is a decline of 1.3%. On a sequential basis, the decline amounted to 18.6%. While Apple has yet to officially report results for the calendar first quarter, TrendForce confirms that as expected, the three months from January through March saw Apple post lower year-over year iPhone shipments for the first time in history.
42 million iPhone units were delivered in the period, a 43.8% drop from the 75 million that were shipped a year ago. For the entire year, iPhone shipments will decline 10% to 213 million units. That includes the contribution of the 4-inch Apple iPhone SE, which started shipping as the quarter came to an end. For the full year, TrendForce sees Apple shipping less than 15 million units of the latest iPhone model.
After hiking its forecast, TrendForce now sees Samsung shipping 316 million handsets for the year, about flat with last year's number, The company had 81 million smartphones in transit during the first quarter, up 2.5% sequentially. Sammy achieved this by shipping the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge earlier than usual. Despite a 20% decline sequentially from fourth quarter shipments, Huawei managed to ship 27 million phones in Q1. That made it the largest manufacturer in its own backyard, and still number three globally.
Lenovo was fourth, shipping 17 million units in the quarter, which was a decline of 5.6% from Q4. 80% of the company's output is expected to be exported this year which would seem to include the Motorola label that it owns. Lastly, in fifth place for the opening quarter of the year was Xiaomi. The company shipped 1 million fewer phones than Lenovo did during the three months.
Xiaomi fell well short of its internal target last year. After telling suppliers to prepare for shipments in the range of 80 million to 100 million phones, the company shipped a bit more than 70 million handsets during 2015.