Smartphones sales fall again but Chinese manufacturers make gains

Alfred Osborne
November 4, 2018

From 398.8 million units in 2017, shipments have dropped to 386.8 million units in 2018.

Samsung Electronics Co. took up 20 percent of the global smartphone market in terms of shipment volume in the third quarter of 2018, industry tracker Strategy Analytics' data showed Friday, falling slightly from the same period past year on the rise of Chinese rivals.

Though retaining its market share lead at 20% lead, Samsung was the biggest loser, with shipments of its phones down 13% to 72 million devices and Huawei landed in the second position behind Samsung, shipping 52 million handsets for 15% overall market share. Apple is the second largest smartphone brand in the world.

Chinese brands have maintained their trajectory of growth with strong performances in markets outside China.

The global smartphone market is "effectively in a recession", Strategy Analytics claims, with the firm's estimates suggesting Apple is holding its own in a declining marketplace despite showing minimal growth in its latest results. The latter's iPhone shipments were up 0.5 percent year on year to 46.7 million with the report predicting an improved fourth quarter thanks to the inclusion of shipments for the highly popular iPhone XR.

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To be precise, Samsung has shipped 72.3 million smartphones globally in Q3 of 2018, which is a drop from the smartphones sold a year ago for the same quarter, i.e., 83.4 million units. In addition, growing markets like India and Indonesia are being changed by the rapid growth of other Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.

On the other hand, Huawei has sold 51.8 million units in the third quarter of this year, which is soar from 39.1 million from Q3 of 2017. Apple was at third, although its market share in the third quarter this year grew to 13.0 percent from 11.9 percent a year earlier.

However, this also presents long-term growth opportunities for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), with many entering such markets with a view to increasing their sales, the report said.

Overall, the results show a surge among Chinese manufacturers that sell low-cost smartphones. However, the company reached the highest number of shipments ever in India.

Since emerging markets are under-penetrated, they have a smaller smartphone base and are not able to offset the global decline.

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