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Apple takes number one spot for Q4 2019 as smartphone sales grow

Paul Lipscombe
January 30, 2020

Apple wins Q4 but Samsung still on top for the year

Apple regained top spot for global smartphone market share in Q4 2019 as overall shipments grew one per cent according to Canalys.  

In total 369 million units were shipped during the quarter as Apple achieved strong sales due to a high demand for the iPhone 11. 

Apple shipped 78.4 million units to claim 21.3 per cent share, with Samsung just behind in second with just shy of 71 million units and 19.2 per cent. 

Huawei however slipped to third place, with shipments down seven per cent year-on-year, largely in part to its placing on the US Entity List. Huawei still shipped 56 million units for 15.2 per cent market share. 

Fellow Chinese vendors Xiaomi (nine per cent) and Oppo (8.2 per cent share), came fourth and fifth respectively. 

Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton said: “This is an industry-wide success – eight of the top ten vendors grew in Q4. When we saw the first declines in global volume a couple of years ago, Canalys stated that the industry was moving from the growth era to the cyclical era. This is it. 

“This growth spurt will not last forever but will be one of a series of peaks and troughs, as the customer refresh rate for smartphones reaches its new equilibrium point.”

Samsung still on top for year 

Samsung shipped the most smartphones for the whole of the year with 298.1 million units, followed by Huawei with 240.6 million and Apple on 198.1 million.

Despite the surge in the final quarter, Apple’s smartphone shipments were down seven per cent year-on-year, as Huawei’s grew 17 per cent. 

Canalys analyst Mo Jia said: “The fortunes of Huawei and Samsung are the story of the year. 2018 saw Huawei take huge chunks of Samsung’s market share. And 2019 was meant to be the year Huawei challenged Samsung for the number one spot. 

“Samsung knew this and was ready for all-out war. It drastically increased its portfolio, and slashed operating margin. But the battle never came, as Huawei’s placement on the US Entity List in May stifled it overseas.”

Jia adds that Huawei’s objectives for growth has likely changed due to the restrictions imposed in recent months. 

“As Huawei prepares to launch its next wave of devices without Google Mobile Services (GMS), its objectives are now very different. It must maintain as much channel support as it can in key markets like Western Europe. 

“It must curate a developer ecosystem to support HMS. And most importantly, it must maintain scale. If it loses scale, it loses developer interest.”

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