Global sales of smartphones decline

June 10, 2019

Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, totalling 373mn units, according to Gartner. 

Despite its absence from the US, Huawei maintained its ranking as the No 2 smartphone vendor worldwide and continued to reduce the gap with Samsung. “Demand for premium smartphones remained lower than for basic smartphones, which affected brands such as Samsung and Apple that have significant stakes in high-end smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

“In addition, demand for utility smartphones declined as the rate of upgrading from feature phones to smartphones has slowed, given that 4G feature phones give users great advantages at a lower cost.” Slowing innovation in flagship smartphones and rising prices continued to extend replacement cycles.

The two countries that sell the most smartphones, namely the US and China, saw sales decline by 15.8 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2019. In the first quarter of 2019, Samsung retained the top spot in worldwide smartphone sales achieving 19.2 per cent market share. Huawei achieved the highest year-on-year growth among the world’s top five, growing 44.5 per cent and smartphone sales totalling 58.4mn units. Sales of Huawei smartphones grew in all regions.

“Huawei did particularly well in two of its biggest regions, Europe and Greater China, where its smartphone sales grew by 69 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively,” said Gupta. Huawei’s continued dominance in Greater China, where it commanded a 29.5 per cent market share, helped it secure the No 2 global smartphone vendor ranking in the first quarter of 2019.

“Unavailability of Google apps and services on Huawei smartphones, if implemented, will upset Huawei’s international smartphone business which is almost half of its worldwide phone business. Not the least it brings apprehension among buyers, limiting Huawei’s growth in the near term,” said Gupta. Despite a decline in its smartphone sales of 8.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, Samsung remained the No 1 smartphone vendor worldwide.

“Samsung launched its flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone portfolio, which received a good response. However, its impact was limited as Samsung only started shipping the S10 at the end of the first quarter,” said Gupta. Sales of Apple iPhones totalled 44.6mn units in the first quarter of 2019, a decline of 17.6 per cent year-on-year.

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