Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019, totalling 373 million units, according to Gartner, Inc. Despite its absence from the US, Huawei maintained its ranking as the No. 2 smartphone vendor worldwide and continued to reduce the gap with Samsung.
“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,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “In addition, demand for utility 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.”
Slowing innovation in flagship smartphones and rising prices continued to extend replacement cycles. The two countries that sell the most smartphones, namely the US and China, saw sales decline by 15.8% and 3.2%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2019.
In the first quarter of 2019, Samsung retained the top spot in worldwide smartphone sales achieving 19.2% market share (see Table 1). Huawei achieved the highest year-over-year growth among the world’s top five, growing 44.5% and smartphone sales totalling 58.4 million units.
Sales of Huawei smartphones grew in all regions. “Huawei did particularly well in two of its biggest regions, Europe and Greater China, where its smartphone sales grew by 69% and 33%, respectively,” said Mr Gupta. Huawei’s continued dominance in Greater China, where it commanded a 29.5% market share, helped it secure the No. 2 global smartphone vendor ranking in the first quarter of 2019.