New smartphone market share estimates from Strategy Analytics and Counterpoint Research both show that Apple maintained third place in the brand rankings in Q2 despite slowing sales.

Despite increasing pressure from Chinese brands, the iPhone’s position looks safe for now…

As is usual for market intelligence reports, the two companies differ in their estimates, but both agree on three things. First, the rankings:

  • Samsung
  • Huawei
  • Apple
  • Xiaomi
  • Oppo

Second, both agree that Apple was the only brand in the top five to have lost market share in the quarter.

Third, while Xiaomi and Oppo are slowly gaining on Apple, they are not showing any sign of threatening Apple’s position for now.

They do differ in the details, however. Strategy Analytics shows Apple’s market share falling from 11.8% in Q2 2018 to 11.1% in the same quarter this year. Counterpoint says the fall was from 11.3% to 10.1%.

Counterpoint has Apple in the worst smartphone market share in relative as well as absolute terms. It says Xiaomi now has a 9% share against Apple’s 10.1%. With Xiaomi growing and Apple falling, that would theoretically see the positions reversed within a year.

The reality is a little different, however: Q2 is always a slow one for Apple as customers await new iPhones in the final week of Q3. It is Q3 and Q4 which tell the real iPhone story.

Strategy Analytics Director Woody Oh says there is mixed news for Apple.

Apple iPhone shipped 38.0 million units to capture 11 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2019, dipping from 12 percent marketshare a year ago. Apple iPhone shipments fell 8 percent annually, making it the worst performer among the world’s big-five smartphone players. Apple is stabilizing in China due to price adjustments and buoyant trade-ins, but other major markets such as India and Europe remain challenging for the expensive iPhone.

Counterpoint has much the same view.

Apple iPhone shipments fell 11%, and iPhone revenues fell 12% year-on-year. Despite this decline, iPhone sales trends are improving. Apple’s buyback programs and other marketing are dampening growing holding periods. However, the lack of 5G over upcoming quarters may again increase holding periods.

This was the third consecutive quarter of a decline in Apple iPhone shipments. To ramp up sales, Apple implemented price cuts for the iPhone XR in India and China markets. Amid the slowdown in China and likely launch of 5G capable iPhone in 2020, Apple will have to concentrate its efforts on emerging markets.

Apple’s earnings report for the same quarter (Apple’s fiscal Q3) showed that the iPhone now accounts for less than half Apple’s revenue for the first time since 2012.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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