It was surprising enough to hear that Xiaomi has lost its spot at the top of the Chinese smartphone market to Huawei, but now we’re hearing reports that the burgeoning startup won’t even be able to hit the low end of its annual sales goal. Last year, Xiaomi announced that it would shoot for 100 million smartphone sales in 2015, but brought that number down to 80 million a few months later, and now it looks like even 80 million might be a bit too high. Considering how the company has been exploding over the last few years, seeing it stumble like this is genuinely surprising, especially when Huawei has been enjoying unprecedented levels of success this year.
Has the magic finally worn off? Is Xiaomi suffering the effects of China’s economic slowdown? Call it what you will, but as we move into the final quarter of the year, things aren’t looking great for Xiaomi. The company appears to be on track to miss even the low end of its yearly smartphone sales goal. Last year, Xiaomi gave itself the goal of selling 100 million phones in 2015. That seemed ambitious, but not outside the realm of possibility, especially after the fast-growing company finished 2014 having shipped more than 60 million units after having originally projected only 40 million sales. 2015 has not gone nearly as well, though. By March, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun had revised this year’s goal to 80 to 100 million units. In July, the company announced that it had sold 34.7 million smartphones in the first half of the year, putting it on track to possibly miss even the lower end of Lei Jun’s revised target. Now, there are additional signs that even 80 million might be optimistic. Taiwan-based research firm Trendforce just released a report suggesting that Xiaomi is on track to sell around 70 million smartphones this year. Meanwhile, research firm Canalys is saying that Xiaomi’s sales in the third quarter of this year actually dropped year-on-year, the first time that has happened.