iPhone X sales in rapid decline? Apple will sell 'fewer than 14 million in Q1'

Meanwhile, Samsung sold eight million Galaxy S9 and S9+ in its first month of sales, says Canalys.

Video: Apple dominates smartphone industry profits with iPhone X.

Apple is expected to sell "fewer than 14 million" iPhone X handsets in the first quarter of 2018, or less than half the 29 million Apple is estimated to have sold in the previous quarter, according to analyst firm Canalys.

The analyst's prediction follows a forecast from Citi analysts in March downgrading iPhone X shipments from 27 million to 14 million units. It also predicted Q2 iPhone shipments to be halved again to just seven million units.

"iPhone X in Q4 2017 shipped 29 million units. So, following that with less than 14 million units in Q1 2018 actually represents a much faster decline than we typically see in iPhone seasonality," Canalys analyst Ben Stanton told ZDNet.

See: iOS 11 tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF)

The analyst firm believes Apple's iPhone X performance in Q1 demonstrates a broader problem with premium smartphones as features such as dual cameras and 18:9 inch displays become common in cheaper handsets.

Samsung meanwhile had a solid first month of sales for the Galaxy S9 and S9+, notching up a combined total of eight million. That figure is equivalent to sales in the S8's launch month, but didn't beat S7 sales of nine million in its first month of sales in 2016.

Galaxy S9 and S9+ sales to the US reached 2.8 million in the first month, according to Canalys.

Despite slowing iPhone X sales, Counterpoint Research recently reported that the iPhone X accounted for 35 percent of worldwide smartphone profits in Q4. The only non-iPhones in the top 10 most profitable devices were Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

Canalys' Stanton reckons a slowing worldwide market for smartphones will prompt Samsung to introduce discounts on the S9 to make it the leading Galaxy phone by shipments.

"Its regional teams are being rated on volume, with management eager for the S9 to out-ship the S8," wrote Stanton.

"With some regional teams already electing to discount the Galaxy S9, it is clear that as the worldwide market slows, Samsung will sacrifice margin to defend its share."

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