Global smartphone sales increased 1.4 percent YoY as compared to Q3 2017, according to a new report published by Gartner. The report details Apple retaining its 11.8 percent share of the smartphone market, with Samsung losing 3.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

While Samsung remained number one in smartphone market share, their near three and a half percent decline indicates the severity of how threatening more affordable brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi have become.

The report indicates that without Huawei and Xiaomi included, smartphone sales would have declined 5.2 percent globally. Gartner research director Anshual Gupta writes,

Led by low-price smartphones, enhanced camera features and high-quality resolution displays, top Chinese mobile phone manufacturers boosted their sales across emerging markets in the third quarter of 2018.

As noted in 9to5Google’s hands-on with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the phone ticks nearly all the boxes on nearly anybody’s high-end smartphone checklist. Offering premium features in line with the latest from Google, Apple and Samsung at several hundred dollars less, Huawei was the only major brand to see significant growth year to year, profiting generously from 43 percent growth compared to Q3 last year.

Apple shipped 45 million smartphones in Q3 2017, and effectively matched that figure this Q3, increasing shipments by approximately 300,000 per Gartner’s data (Apple officially reported 46.89 million iPhones). Samsung, however, saw an estimated twelve million unit decline in shipments.

Other interesting tidbits include a mention of how the iPhone XS Max is outselling the standard XS, with this especially reigning true in China, where consumer demand for larger and larger smartphones dominates the market. Perhaps, this is why Huawei remained the number one smartphone brand in Greater China and top three among “many European markets”, as the report mentions.

Table 1Worldwide Top 5 Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 3Q18 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor 3Q18Units 3Q18 Market Share (%) 3Q17Units 3Q17 Market Share (%)
Samsung 73,360.1 18.9 85,605.3 22.3
Huawei 52,218.4 13.4 36,501.8 9.5
Apple 45,746.6 11.8 45,441.9 11.8
Xiaomi 33,219.7 8.5 26,853.2 7.0
OPPO 30,563.4 7.9 29,449.2 7.7
Others 153,960.0 39.6 159,742.0 41.6
Total 389,068.2 100.0 383,593.4 100.0

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

The conclusion to these figures is that Gartner predicts the next wave of massive consumer smartphone adoption will be in 2020, when future tech such as 5G and foldable smartphones reach the market. Gartner predicts 65 million 5G smartphones will be sold throughout 2020, and with Apple not expected to release a 5G smartphone until at least that year, it’s clear 5G will be extremely profitable for the industry.

While Gartner notes that, initially, foldable 5G devices will be both expensive and see users forced to trade-off certain features, the demand for this type of futuristic tech will nonetheless spark a new era of mobile sales.

Will you be buying one of the first consumer 5G devices or foldable smartphones? How much are you willing to trade-off for these features? Let us know down in the comments below!


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