Global smartphone production volume climbed 10.5% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) in 2Q19, new TrendForce data showed.
Yet the many uncertainties circulating in the international market still caused smartphone production volume to weaken by 2.4% year-on-year (YoY), led by Samsung, Huawei, and Apple.
Influential factors such as the US-China trade dispute and the Japan-South Korea trade frictions still linger in 3Q19 looking forward, the research specialist warned.
And with the arrival of the 5G era, the transition into which the on-looking smartphone market witnesses with anticipation, customers will be holding on to their phones for longer. This will whittle down peak season performance in 2H19, and smartphone production volume for 3Q19 is forecast to lie around 363 million units.
Despite growing over 2Q19 by 5.8%, this is still a 4.4% decline YoY compared to the figure of 380 million units for the same period last year.
Total smartphone production volume is expected to reach 1.38 billion units, down 5% year-on-year, Trendforce said.
Huawei vs Apple trade war
Samsung grew production volume by 3% to 76.5 million units, its best performance in a single quarter since 2018.
This, TrendForce said, was due to Huawei’s loss in European and American market share as an effect of a ban imposed on the company. “Contrarily, Samsung reaped a harvest after having cultivated its presence in European and South American markets in the past,” TrendForce said.
It forecasts that production volume in 3Q19 will trend flat from 2Q19 and come to 76 million units.
Samsung is working on its product portfolio to replace the mid-range J series with the mid-high A series, “which will become Samsung’s mainstream product”.
“Samsung will also be using the A series’ existing place in the market to reshape the image of the brand and compete with Chinese brands, who place an emphasis on high specs. Samsung will also be releasing the M series, which boasts long battery life, and target online customers such as those in India and Indonesia,” TrendForce said.
Huawei has been active in R&D in recent years, which is starting to pay off, the research firm said. Besides being well received by domestic Chinese consumers, it has also seen strong results in overseas markets.
“Yet the ban in mid-May has impacted Huawei’s overseas sales, causing production volume to fall by over 13% in 2Q19 over 1Q19, coming to 52.5 million units, ending the five-quarter-long growth streak in production volume,” TrendForce said.
It said that the Mate 30 series, which has the next generation Kirin chip implemented, is expected to be released at the end of 3Q, as scheduled. “If they are unable to remedy the Android system restriction situation by then, Huawei’s production performance in 3Q19 may be affected.
“As for the release of new 5G devices, that will have to wait until 4Q19,” TrendForce said.
Apple’s production volume for 2Q19 came to about 38.8 million units, a new low since 2015, putting Apple at a global third place.
TrendForcse said that apart from the high prices of new devices, which is of no help in motivating customers to reach for their wallets, “the effects of the US-China trade dispute on sales in China markets and the relatively long periods of time for which Apple clients hold on to their phones compared to Android clients all formed the major reasons for the lack of purchases.”
Apple is expected to announce a new handset late on Tuesday evening (10 September).
OPPO, Xiaomi and Vivo ranked fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
|Total production volume (millions)||343.6||363.3|
“The three major brands all saw a compression in profits for domestic markets due to Huawei’s continual surge, which impacted their sales performance, and the intensive competition seen in overseas markets. It is the common goal of the trio to guard their domestic market share and make breakthroughs in markets overseas,” TrendForce said.
Data from Counterpoint meanwhile, showed that global smartphone shipments declined 3% annually reaching 354 million units in Q2 2019.
Samsung, backed by its overhauled portfolio of M and A series grew 7.1% year-on-year after six consecutive quarters of annual decline. It noted that the effect of trade ban on Huawei was not severe during this quarter, growing 4.4% year-on-year. However, Counterpoint noted that overseas shipments will decline in Q3 2019.
Apple iPhone shipments fell 11%, and iPhone revenues fell 12% year-on-year. It slipped out of top 5 in the MEA market. However, the sales trends for Apple are improving, Counterpoint said.