HTC has started 2019 off in pretty much the same way it ended 2018 – with another drop in month-over-month revenue.
Today HTC confirmed unaudited consolidated revenue for January, 2019 came in at NT$1.01 billion. This is the equivalent to a little over $32 million in U.S.
To put this figure into perspective, December, 2018's revenue was NT$1.35 billion, or roughly $44 million. So just on the basis of December to January, HTC has seen a significant drop.
The bigger issue though is when you look at the continued rate of decline as December ($44 million) was down from November's $48 million.
Even November's figure was a little unusual as the company did see an increase in November from October's $42 million, and even though October was slightly up on September's $40 million, September and October were both below August ($45.2 million), which in turn was below the month before ($45.7 million). Each each month before that was also largely down on the previous one.
Those wondering if this is just an effect of January where many companies often see a downturn in sales then the year-over-year figures paint an even worse picture for the company. In January 2018 HTC posted $116 million in revenue. That represented a year-over-year decline of 27-percent which is nothing compared to the well in excess of 70-percent year-over-year drop now in effect for January of this year.
Therefore, and even though the year has only just started, HTC is already posting substantially worse revenue than it did last year. Even though last year's January was substantially worse than the previous year.
This arguably suggests that 2019 as a whole is going to be an even worse year for the company than 2018 was. For example, HTC posted annual revenue of $770 million for 2018 overall and a big part of that was the $116 million for January.
With the current year's January already down more than $80 million compared to last year, it would seem HTC is already struggling to even stay within range of 2018. If the rest of the year follows the same trend as 2018 did, then it stands to reason 2019 will come in massively under 2018 representing a whole different problem – 2018 was by all accounts the worst year in revenue for the company since 2009.
Of course, with only one month gone and accounted for, HTC still does have time to make up the difference and turn the tide on what has become a depressing monthly update cycle. And if the company is going to make such a u-turn, then 2019 might very well be that year.
Rumors and speculation already point to a number of new releases coming through from the company including a 5G phone. While that may be enough to elicit greater consumer attention than the previous niche-focused phones from the company, it will face stiff competition from a number of brands looking to be one of the first to market with a 5G-enabled device.
What's more, HTC's 5G solution is not expected to arrive until the second half of this year, and with the rolling out of a compatible 5G network proving to be equally slow, it remains to be seen how much of an impact HTC's phone will have on the company's revenue for this year.
In the meantime, it would seem wise to expect the next few months to not be great, and by 'not great' – bad.