It wasn't just Apple that got whacked, though, as China's entire smartphone market shrunk almost 10% in the quarter, lending credence to Apple officials saying that the drop was related to overall conditions in China. Revenue from the iPhone slid 15 per cent in the October to December period.
Apple's October-December shipments suffered a almost 20-percent decline from the same period in the previous year.
Apple's decline in the world's largest mobile market was can be attributed to a slowing economy, the iPhone's hefty price tag, and lengthening replacement cycles among consumers. Apple CEO Tim Cook has seen China as a key part of Apple's strategy.
Customers apparently refrained from buying new smartphones amid an economic slowdown due to trade friction with the United States.
However, as per the IDC report, the iPhone maker isn't the worst performing brand as Xiaomi Corp, another China-based company, fared even worse in the final months of past year as its shipments plunged nearly 35 percent.
Huawei had briefly trumped Apple to get to the No. 2 spot in the world. That reduced Apple's market share to 11.5 percent from 12.9 percent a year earlier, the report said. This means that competitively priced, feature-packed phones have caused problems for the iPhone which has become more expensive over time. In China, iPhone sales have fallen at twice the overall decline in the smartphone market.
In response, the company has announced that it will be introducing price cuts to markets which have been affected by a stronger U.S. dollar with China likely being one of these markets given that third-party retailers such as JD.com are already selling iPhones at 20% lower prices. Apple still provides total revenue by region, though, and its "Greater China" sales - including Taiwan and Hong Kong - were down 27% annually to $13 million, according to CNBC. "The report also claims that Apple will introduce a 'new Green-ish" color option for the most affordable iPhone of 2019, which will be the successor of the iPhone XR, and will also kill off one of the existing colour options - Black, White, Yellow, Coral, Red and Blue.