Research and advisory company Gartner has released its report for global smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2019. And while the news is not exactly great (sales dipped as compared to the same quarter last year), there were some interesting developments. Here are what we think were the main stories behind the statistics that Gartner revealed:

gartner q3 2019: as the global smartphone market slows, the chinese grow - gartner smartphone

The market is a little down

The global smartphone market registered a small dip in Q3 2019 as compared to the same quarter last year – a decrease of 0.4 percent. Global smartphone sales were down from 389.04 million units in Q3 2018 to 387.48 million in Q3 2019. Gartner attributes this to consumers being more concerned about getting value for money. The report also hints that with 5G on the horizon, consumers are holding off purchases until 2020.

Samsung remains numero uno

It might be facing dipping sales in India, but globally Samsung continues to surge. The South Korean giant remains on top of the global smartphone market with a share of 20.4 percent, which is actually up from an 18.9 percent share in Q3 2018. Its smartphone sales increased by 7.8 percent as compared to this quarter last year, with sales of 79.05 million. Gartner feels that the brand’s revamp of its portfolio, with a greater focus on mid-tier and entry segments has paid dividends.

Despite ban talk, Huawei surges

When the Trump administration had slapped restrictions on US companies dealing with Huawei, earlier this year, many had predicted trouble for the Chinese brand. However, Gartner’s statistics suggest that Huawei is still going strong, and was actually the only brand in the top five to record double-digit year on year growth – it sold 65.8 million smartphones in Q3 2019 (second only to Samsung), an increase of 26 percent over the same period last year. Interestingly, 40.5 million of these were sold in China, where it increased its share by 15 points. No, we do not know how the Android-Huawei issue will pan out, but as of now, the Chinese major is in no major trouble.

Apple slips up

Apple did not have the greatest quarter. Although the brand remained at number three and ran up sales of 40.83 million in Q3 2019, this was a year on year decline of 10.7 percent (the company has sold 45.75 million phones in Q3 2018). The brand’s market share also dipped from 11.8 percent in Q3 2018 to 10.5 percent in Q3 2019. Gartner, however, says that the positive initial response to the new iPhone 11 series could result in a better performance in the final quarter of the year.

gartner q3 2019: as the global smartphone market slows, the chinese grow - gartner q3 2019

Xiaomi slows, Oppo grows…both slightly

Xiaomi grabbed fourth place in the global smartphone charts even though its sales dipped to 32.27 million in Q3 2019 as compared to 33.22 million in the same quarter last year. Its market share too slipped slightly from 8.5 percent to Q3 2018 to 8.3 percent in the same quarter this year. Oppo is not too far behind, with an 8.0 percent share of the global market in Q3 2019 and sales of 30.83 million smartphones, which is a slight increase over the 7.9 percent market share in Q3 2018 and sales of 30.56 million smartphones. Interestingly, as per Counterpoint’s Q3 2019, Oppo has an 8 percent share of the Indian smartphone market too!

“Others” remains a powerful entity globally, but in totality

An interesting point of difference between the global and Indian Smartphone markets is the role of Others (brands outside the top five). While in India, their share is shrinking, globally they still remain a force to reckon with, with 35.8 percent of the market share. Mind you, this is down from 39.6 percent in Q3 2018. But it is fascinating to note that while the top five brands in India account for more than 85 percent of the total market share, the global top five account for less than 65 percent of the total market. That said, the very fact that Oppo at number five has eight percent market share would seem to indicate that there is no single dominant player in the Others category, with their 35 percent share split amongst a number of players including Vivo, OnePlus, Motorola, Nokia, Asus, and others.

Chinese dominate the top five

There are three Chinese brands in the global top five – Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo. And together, they account for one-third of the global market share (that’s not counting Chinese brands outside the top five). Those three together account for more than Apple and Samsung, the only two non-Chinese brands in the top five do.

Q4 2019 should be good

Although Q3 2019 saw a dip in global smartphone sales, Gartner feels that Q4 2019 will see things improve, thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are likely to see aggressive prices and promotions from different brands. We will find out when we get the Q4 report, of course.

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