Now that both IDC and Gartner have weighed in on first-quarter smartphone sales, we have a clearer picture of the year-over-year drop-off: Smartphone makers sold 342 million handsets worldwide in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 358.1 million units in the same quarter a year ago, a drop of 4.5 percent.
“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,” Gartner’s Anshul Gupta said in a prepared statement. “In addition, demand for [low cost] 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.”
“The overall smartphone market continues to be challenged in almost all areas, yet Huawei was able to grow shipments by 50 percent, not only signifying a clear number two in terms of market share but also closing the gap on the market leader Samsung,” IDC wrote in a report that was issued before this month’s Huawei legal drama. “This new ranking of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple is very likely what we’ll see when 2019 is all said and done.”
Regardless of Huawei’s future, the firm is pretty dominant today, and not just in China: 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 percent and 33 percent, respectively,” IDC’s Anshul Gupta said. “Huawei’s continued dominance in Greater China, where it commanded a 29.5 percent market share, helped it secure the number two global smartphone vendor ranking in the first quarter of 2019.”
As noted, Huawei is the number two smartphone maker worldwide by volume, with 59 million units sold in the first quarter. That’s behind Samsung, with about 80 million units sold, but well ahead of Apple, with an estimated 40.5 million units sold. Of course, the most striking thing about Huawei is the growth: Where Samsung and Apple both lost a significant amount of market share, Huawei grew smartphone sales by an astonishing 32.4 percent in the quarter.