Gartner: Global smartphone demand weakened in Q3 2019

Global sales of smartphones to end users continued to decline in the third quarter of 2019, contracting by 0.4% compared with the third quarter of 2018, according to analyst firm, Gartner. Demand remained weak as consumers became more concerned about getting value for money.

This shift has led brands such as Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo to strengthen their entry-level and midtier handset ranges. This strategy helped Huawei, Samsung and OPPO grow in the third quarter of 2019. By contrast, Apple recorded another double-digit decline in sales.

Huawei bucking the trend

Huawei was the only one of the top-five global smartphone vendors to achieve double-digit growth in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2019.

  • The company sold 65.8 million smartphones, an increase of 26%, year over year.
  • Huawei’s performance in China was the key driver of its global smartphone sales growth. It sold 40.5 million smartphones in China and increased its share of the country’s market by almost 15%.
  • Samsung maintained the No. 1 position globally in Q3,  increasing its smartphone sales by 7.8%, year over year.
  • Apple’s iPhone sales continued to decline in the third quarter of 2019. Apple sold 40.8 million iPhones, a year-over-year decline of 10.7%.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday might be the tonic

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, smartphone deals are likely to spur consumer demand in the fourth quarter of 2019. Vendors including Google and Samsung are likely to offer aggressive price promotions not just for their older smartphones but also for new devices such as the Google Pixel 4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.

Competition between mobile phone manufacturers will increasingly focus on more AI based intelligent smartphones that make security capabilities and privacy key aspects of their brands. These devices will deliver increasingly personalized content and services that draw on users’ contexts and preferences.

For the majority of smartphone users, desire has shifted away from owning the least expensive smartphone. Today’s smartphone user is opting for midtier smartphones over premium-tier ones because they offer better value for money. In addition, while waiting for 5G network coverage to increase to more countries, smartphone users are delaying their purchase decisions until 2020.

Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner