31 May 2019
Global sales of smartphones declined 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019, according to market research firm Gartner, Inc. Overall global smartphone shipments reached 373 million units. Samsung remained the global leader in the smartphone market, followed by troubled Chinese smartphone maker Huawei. The Chinese phone maker has reduced its market gap with Samsung and has overthrown Apple from the second place.
Gartner stated that slowing innovation in flagship smartphones, as well as rising prices and bigger replacement cycles, have led to the decline in smartphone sales. Smartphone sales in the U.S. and China declined by 15.8% and 3.2%, respectively, in Q1, 2019. Huawei has seen the highest year-over-year growth among the world’s top five smartphone makers and grew 44.5%, shipping a total of 58.4 million units. The company’s sales of Huawei grew in all regions. However, the company's future remains uncertain with more sanctions and penalties coming it's way. Reports suggest that Google may have to stop issuing software updates to Huawei, due to the ongoing tensions, which may impact its sales.
Samsung retained the top spot in the first quarter with worldwide smartphone sales achieving a 19.2% market share. Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 smartphones saw a good response. The company’s mid-tier and entry-level smartphone including A series and J series as well as newly introduced M series have helped it grab a bigger share.
“Huawei did particularly well in two of its biggest regions, Europe and Greater China, where its smartphone sales grew by 69% and 33%, respectively,” said Mr. Gupta. Huawei’s continued dominance in Greater China, where it commanded a 29.5% market share, helped it secure the No. 2 global smartphone vendor ranking in the first quarter of 2019.
“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.”