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Gartner: global smartphone sales down 2.7pc in Q1 2019

Jasper Hart
May 28, 2019

Huawei maintains number two spot thanks to strong domestic performance

Global smartphone sales declined 2.7 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2019, according to analyst firm Gartner. Total unit sales in the quarter were 373 million.

The firm cited slowing innovation and rising prices as factors that influenced the extension of replacement cycles, leading to a drop in sales. The US and China saw respective sales drops of 15.8 per cent and 3.2 per cent.

Gartner senior research director Anshul Gupta said: “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.

“In addition, demand for low-end 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.”

Samsung retained first place in global smartphone sales with 19.2 per cent market share, as slight drop from 20.5 per cent in Q1 2018 and with a sales decline of 8.8 per cent year-on-year. Apple saw a 17.6 per cent year-on-year sales decline, shipping 44.6 million iPhones.

“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.

“The price cut for iPhones across markets helped drive up demand but wasn’t enough to restore growth in the first quarter. Apple is facing longer replacement cycles as users struggle to see enough value benefits to justify replacing existing iPhones.”

Huawei’s market share increased from 10.5 per cent in Q1 2018 to 15.7 per cent, the highest year-on-year growth of the top five vendors.

“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,” added Gupta, who warned that Huawei’s international controversies may hurt its market share going forward.

“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.”

Vivo narrowly edged out Xiaomi to claim fifth spot, selling 27.4 million smartphones compared to Xiaomi’s 27.2 million, and increasing its market share from 6.1 per cent in Q1 2018 to 7.3 per cent.

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