The latest report from Gartner shows global smartphone sales declined 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019. The fallout continues for both Apple and Samsung, each recording quarter one revenue of 17.6% and 8.8% respectively. The other smartphone maker, Huawei, despite a lack of presence in the US, is the only vendor in the top three rankings that reported positive growth across all regions, growing 44.5% with shipment totaling 58.4 million units.
“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.
Huawei’s fortunes are in question, however, as news of the pullout of its licensing by Google of the Android operating platform, have seen a stoppage by retailers of Huawei-branded smartphones.
“Unavailability of Google apps and services on Huawei smartphones, if implemented, will upset Huawei’s international smartphone business which is almost half of its worldwide phone business. Not the least it brings apprehension among buyers, limiting Huawei’s growth in the near term,” said Gupta.
Rounding out the top five are the two other Chinese brands – Oppo and Vivo, each reporting an increase in unit shipments in the first quarter. Falling off the top five is Xiaomi which, Gartner estimate, shipped 27.2 million units – 200,000 thousands unit fewer than Vivo.