“Demand for high-end smartphones has slowed at a greater rate than demand for midrange and low-end smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “To try to boost smartphone replacements, we’ve seen manufacturers bringing premium features such as multilens front/back cameras, bezel-less displays and large batteries from their flagship smartphones into lower-priced models.”
Among the top five global smartphone vendors, Huawei and Samsung exhibited the strongest annual sales increases in the second quarter of 2019 at 16.5% and 3.8%, respectively (see Table 1). “As a result, they both grew market share in the quarter, which led them to account for more than a third of total smartphone sales globally,” said Mr. Gupta.
The Huawei ban announcement led to a sharp decline in Huawei’s smartphone sales in the global market in the second quarter of 2019, although sales did improve slightly on the ban’s deferment. While its smartphone sales total was weaker globally, strong promotion and brand positioning helped Huawei sell a record number of smartphones in Greater China in the quarter, growing 31% in the region.
Samsung Returned to Growth, Apple Continued to Decline
Samsung sold over 75 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2019 and grew its share by 1.1 percentage points year over year. “Strong demand for Samsung’s new Galaxy A series smartphones and the revamp of its entire entry-level and midrange smartphone range helped this positive performance,” said Mr. Gupta. “Demand for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 started to weaken during the quarter, however, indicating that achieving growth in 2019 as a whole will be a challenge.”
Sales of iPhones continued to decline year over year, although at a lesser rate compared with the first quarter of 2019. Apple sold just over 38 million iPhones in the second quarter, a 13.8% decline year over year. “Too few incremental benefits are preventing existing iPhone users from replacing their smartphones,” said Mr. Gupta.” Apple has reached an inflection point marked by shifting its business toward services, which represented 21% of the vendor’s total revenue in the first quarter of 2019.”
China and Brazil: Only Countries in the Top 5 to Show Smartphone Sales Growth
Among the top five countries in smartphones sales, China held the No. 1 position with 101 million smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2019, up 0.5% year over year. With more 5G smartphone models available in the second quarter, vendors in China had to clear out inventory of 4G high-end smartphone models. Achieving 10.8 million smartphone sales in the same period, Brazil was the only other country in the top five to exhibit growth (1.3% year over year). As the economy in Brazil is starting to slowly recover, this smartphone growth is a small indicator of stronger economic growth expected in 2020.
India sold a total of 35.7 million smartphones, achieving market share of 9.7% in the second quarter of 2019. Those sales in India represented a 2.3% decline year over year, however, mainly due to slowing consumer upgrades from feature phones to smartphones.
Global smartphone sales will remain weak for the rest of the year. Gartner analysts expect that sales of worldwide smartphone sales to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019.