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Global smartphone sales continue to decline

By Shannon Williams
Wed 28 Aug 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Smartphone sales are continuing to decline in the second quarter of 2019, according to new research from analysis firm Gartner. 

According to Gartner's worldwide smartphone market share data, Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 1.7% in the second quarter of 2019, totalling 368 million units.

“Demand for high-end smartphones has slowed at a greater rate than demand for midrange and low-end smartphones,” says Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. 

“To try to boost smartphone replacements, we’ve seen manufacturers bringing premium features such as multilens front/back cameras, bezel-less displays and large batteries from their flagship smartphones into lower-priced models," he explains.
 
Among the top five global smartphone vendors, Huawei and Samsung exhibited the strongest annual sales increases in the second quarter of 2019 at 16.5% and 3.8%, respectively.

“As a result, they both grew market share in the quarter, which led them to account for more than a third of total smartphone sales globally,” says Gupta.
 
Gupta says the Huawei ban announcement led to a sharp decline in Huawei’s smartphone sales in the global market in the second quarter of 2019, although sales did improve slightly on the ban’s deferment. 

"While its smartphone sales total was weaker globally, strong promotion and brand positioning helped Huawei sell a record number of smartphones in Greater China in the quarter, growing 31% in the region," he says.
 
The new research revealed Samsung has returned to growth, while Apple continued to decline.

Samsung sold over 75 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2019 and grew its share by 1.1 percentage points year over year.

“Strong demand for Samsung’s new Galaxy A series smartphones and the revamp of its entire entry-level and midrange smartphone range helped this positive performance,” explains Gupta. 

“Demand for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 started to weaken during the quarter, however, indicating that achieving growth in 2019 as a whole will be a challenge.”
 
Sales of iPhones continued to decline year over year, although at a lesser rate compared with the first quarter of 2019. Apple sold just over 38 million iPhones in the second quarter, a 13.8% decline year over year. 

“Too few incremental benefits are preventing existing iPhone users from replacing their smartphones,” says Gupta.

"Apple has reached an inflection point marked by shifting its business toward services, which represented 21% of the vendor’s total revenue in the first quarter of 2019," adds Gupta.

China and Brazil: Only Countries in the Top 5 to Show Smartphone Sales Growth
Among the top five countries in smartphones sales, China held the No. 1 position with 101 million smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2019, up 0.5% year over year. With more 5G smartphone models available in the second quarter, vendors in China had to clear out inventory of 4G high-end smartphone models. A

chieving 10.8 million smartphone sales in the same period, Brazil was the only other country in the top five to exhibit growth (1.3% year over year). As the economy in Brazil is starting to slowly recover, this smartphone growth is a small indicator of stronger economic growth expected in 2020.
 
India sold a total of 35.7 million smartphones, achieving market share of 9.7% in the second quarter of 2019. Those sales in India represented a 2.3% decline year over year, however, mainly due to slowing consumer upgrades from feature phones to smartphones.
 
According to Gartner, Global smartphone sales will remain weak for the rest of the year. Gartner analysts expect that sales of worldwide smartphone sales to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019.

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