Report: Global smartphone sales increase for first time in two years

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On Thursday, market research firm Canalys reported the global smartphone market increased in size by one percent in Q3 2019. Notably, the last quarter is the first time the worldwide handset market has experienced any growth since 2017. However, because of the ongoing Sino-American trade war, it’s unclear if the market will continue to rally through the holiday season.

Smartphone Market Growth Led by Huawei, Samsung

According to Canalys, the world’s smartphone makers shipped out 352.4 million units in the third quarter. In addition to the modest year-on-year growth, the sector rose by 6.2 percent from the second quarter.  As in Q2 2019, South Korean electronics firm Samsung dominated the industry, although Chinese telecommunications company Huawei is hot on its tail.

Last quarter, Samsung sold 76.9 million units, up 6 percent from Q3 2018. Though the corporation is still struggling with the collapse of its semiconductor business, its smartphone sales have been robust. Indeed, the conglomerate credited the success of the Galaxy Note and its budget Galaxy A line for its better than expected sales.

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Apple moved 43.5 million devices in the second quarter, an increase of 20 percent from last quarter. As such, the Big Tech firm grew its market share from 10.9 percent in Q2 to 12.3 percent in Q3. Moreover, the corporation experienced a surge in sales before the release of its popular iPhone 11.

Unfortunately, the Cupertino, California-based company’s unit shipments declined by 7 percent year-on-year. It is worth noting Apple’s device business also dropped off by 11 percent in the second quarter. That said, the firm has already taken steps to address the softness in its smartphone segment by introducing new services. Indeed, the company beat analyst expectations in the last quarter thanks to a 19 percent increase in software revenue.

Huawei is a Question Mark

Lastly, Huawei, which shipped 66.8 million units in the last quarter, experienced the biggest jump in sales and market share. The company moved 29 percent more devices than it did in the same frame last year. It also captured 27.5 percent more of the smartphone sector than it did in Q3 2018.

Canalys attributes Huawei’s remarkable growth to its improved performance in the Sino market. Earlier this month, The Burn-In reported the device maker had used the Trump administration’s trade ban to position it as the brand of choice for patriotic Chinese citizens. However, the firm’s strong 2019 performance may not carry into the New Year.

As part of Washington’s sanctions against the firm, Google can no longer license its Android operating system to Huawei. Consequently, the company’s forthcoming handsets won’t be able to access its popular ecosystem. Going forward, the company may see massive declines in its international sales as a result.

At present, it seems unlikely that Huawei can increase its market share solely on the strength of its domestic business.