According to recent estimates, Apple’s share of the smartphone market took a big hit in the first quarter this year. Market research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the 37.4 million iPhones Apple sold last quarter were good for 17.9% of the global smartphone market, down from the 22.8% of the market Apple controlled in the same quarter last year. With no savior expected until September at the earliest — CEO Tim Cook recently said Apple is working on new products that will launch beginning this fall — Apple stands to continue losing market share until the iPhone 5S, and perhaps a new low-end iPhone as well, launch later this year.
A recent research note from AllianceBernstein, picked up by Forbes, suggests that Apple is in for a couple of difficult quarters where market share is concerned. While the iPhone’s share of the global market already slid about four points to 17.9% in the first quarter this year, AllianceBernstein believes that figure will fall further to about 12% in the current quarter. For the September quarter, the firm believes Apple’s smartphone market share will fall into the single digits.
Earlier rumors suggested Apple was planning to release its new iPhone 5S this summer, but more recent reports suggest the updated iPhone will launch in September just like the iPhone 5 did last year. In either case, AllianceBernstein’s estimates seem unlikely.
The June quarter will undoubtedly be a rough one for Apple in terms of market share if its next iPhone (or iPhones) don’t launch until September. Even if the iPhone 5S launches near the end of September like its predecessor, which launched on September 21st last year, single-digits are unlikely in the third quarter.
Apple sold 5 million iPhones during the iPhone 5’s debut weekend in 2012 and if history continues to repeat itself, the next iPhone’s opening weekend will see sales climb even higher. But even if Apple just matches its performance from last year, one week of next-generation iPhone sales in September should be more than enough to keep Apple’s third-quarter market share out of the single-digit range.