Global smartphone shipments declined 3% annually, recording 386.8 million units in Q3 2018.
This is according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s market monitor service, which found that the top 10 players now capture 79% of the market – leaving more than 600 brands to compete for the remaining 21% of the market.
Samsung continued to lead the smartphone market with 19% market share in the quarter. It was followed by Huawei (13%) and Apple (12%).
Commenting on the decline in smartphone market, Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said that this is the first time that the global smartphone market has declined for three consecutive quarters.
“It can be attributed to a weakening demand in developed markets like China, USA and Western Europe which account for almost half of smartphone sales globally,” he said.
“The lack of meaningful innovation and improvement in smartphone build quality is leading to lengthening replacement cycles.”
Despite this decline, Pathak noted that the Chinese brands have continued to perform well.
“Despite the decline in its home market, Chinese brands OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi reached new highs in smartphone shipments in a quarter.
“Huawei was also able to maintain its 50+ million smartphone shipments and retain its 2nd position in Q3 2018. This suggests that the companies are reducing their dependence on their home country. The brands will further expand outside China as they push into Asia Pacific countries and Europe,” he said.
Although some emerging markets, like India, showed double-digit growth, it was not enough to compensate for the volume decline in developed markets.
Since emerging markets are under-penetrated, they have a smaller smartphone base and are not able to offset the global decline.
However, this also presents long-term growth opportunities for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with many entering such markets to grow their sales.
“The growth in the emerging markets is led by Chinese smartphone players that are venturing out of China to capture sales,” said Counterpoint research analyst, Shobhit Srivastava.
“The offerings from these OEMs have intensified competition and many features and capabilities common among flagship models are now progressively diffusing through to the lower price bands,” he said.
“This is also affecting local smartphone players in the emerging economies, which are struggling to maintain a foothold.”