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Smartphones back on the rise after strong third quarter

Paul Lipscombe
November 19, 2019

Chinese smartphone brands have enjoyed success in emerging markets according to analyst firms

The global smartphone market grew in Q3 2019, reversing seven quarters of year-on-year shipment declines, according to a trio of leading analyst firms.

IDC, Canalys and Counterpoint Research all reported growth in the sector, driven by the rise of Chinese brands in emerging markets.

IDC reported 358.3 million shipments, an increase from 355.6 million in Q3 last year; Canalys 352.4 million, up from 348.9 million; and Counterpoint 380 million, slightly up from 379.8 million.

“The market returning to growth shows the resilience of this industry, as well as the ongoing demand for mobile phones,” said IDC programme vice president Ryan Reith.

Counterpoint Research analyst Shobhit Srivastava added: “The global smartphone market ended a long period of continuous year- on-year declines in Q3 2019 due to increased shipments in India and China, the two top-focus markets for every player in the mobile value chain.

“In India, smartphone OEMs started preparing early for the festive Diwali season this year. In China, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo continued to see healthy channel demand ahead of the October holiday break. This, along with upcoming holiday season in the next quarter, should drive up overall smartphone demand into positive growth territory for the second half of this year compared to the last year.”

Key trends included a strong performance from Huawei as it concentrated on its domestic market, and increasing consolidation of the top five brands: Samsung, Huawei, Apple, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo.

Ben Stanton at Canalys warned that Huawei faces a tough test overseas in the coming quarter, with “resistance from channels in critical overseas markets like Europe” to new devices released in the wake of it being placed on the US Entity List.

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