Global Q1 2019 market reports highlight Samsung and Apple's struggles, Huawei's incredible growth

Global Q1 2019 market reports highlight Samsung and Apple's struggles, Huawei's incredible growth
While foldable designs and 5G connectivity are widely expected to eventually bring back growth to the stagnant smartphone market, it shouldn't come as a big surprise to hear the industry's major players haven't done enough during 2019's first quarter to stop last year's bleeding. Overall global shipments were down in the January - March timeframe from the same period of 2018, according to both Strategy Analytics and the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Curiously, the two research firms can't seem to agree on the extent of the market's Q1 decline, as one estimation puts sales numbers at a little over 330 million units, down 4 percent from 345.4 million in Q1 2018, while the other counts only 310.8 million shipments around the world during 2019's first three months, which would represent a much larger year-on-year drop of 6.6 percent.

Although the numbers don't look very encouraging either way, Strategy Analytics has a significantly more positive outlook, claiming smartphone shipments are finally "showing signs of stabilizing", while the IDC highlights the market's sixth consecutive quarterly slump, which also represents a bigger decline than the one reported this time last year. But if there's one thing the two research companies can agree on, that's certainly the name of Q1 2019's global MVP. 

Huawei is mounting the pressure on Samsung

Overtaking Samsung and even Apple in worldwide volume sounded like a far-fetched objective for China's top smartphone vendor not so long ago, but if Huawei can keep up its phenomenal recent growth pace, the number one spot among global mobile device OEMs is definitely achievable within a year or so.

At first glance, Samsung might appear to be holding a solid lead over its primary rival, but the gap is rapidly closing, as Huawei's shipments somehow surged by an incredible 50 percent in Q1, from around 39 to 59 million units. That's enough for an all-time high market share of between 17.9 and 19 percent, compared to Samsung's 22 or 23 percent slice of the pie, equating to under 72 million unit shipments, down 8 percent from 78 million last year.

It's no big secret that Samsung is having trouble getting a foothold in the crucial Chinese market, while its mid-range product portfolio continues to struggle around the world. Huawei, on the other hand, is on the rise everywhere (apart from the US) and in every single price bracket, using high-end models to create a "strong affiliation" for mid to low-end devices, the latter of which are still largely supporting the company's stellar "overall shipment performance."

Apple and pretty much everyone else is struggling

You probably already know official iPhone sales numbers are no longer included in Apple's quarterly financial statements, which seems to be causing major confusion for Strategy Analytics and the IDC. Their Q1 2019 figures are not remotely close, at 43.1 and 36.4 million shipments respectively, although either way, Apple is ranked a distant third after edging out Huawei for second place overall in 2018.

The market share of the Cupertino-based tech giant is obviously shrinking as well, from 15 to anywhere between 11.7 and 13 percent, mostly due to poor iPhone sales performance across key regions like China and India. But while one research firm expects Apple to "bounce back slightly in those two countries" in Q2 thanks to recent price cuts, the other reckons iPhones could "face a difficult remainder of the year" as competitors continue to ramp up their focus on foldable devices and 5G speeds.

In fourth and fifth place, Xiaomi and Oppo didn't have the best of quarters either, at least according to the IDC, which estimates the two's Q1 numbers dropped by 10 and 6 percent respectively. Interestingly, Vivo is tied with sister brand Oppo in the fifth spot in the IDC's global rankings, while Strategy Analytics mentions nothing about Vivo, claiming Oppo's shipments actually grew slightly in the January - March period. 

Bottom line, there are several important differences, possible miscalculations, and question marks we're left with after analyzing these two reports, but one thing is clear and incontestable - the mobile industry as a whole is hurting due to a general lack of innovation and longer upgrade cycles.



1. strawberry

Posts: 123; Member since: Feb 20, 2019

samsung will always remain king of mobile with highest market share!

4. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Apple will always remain king of mobile with highest profit share. The fact that Samsung mobile division continues to decline is a sign of their downfall. Followed by delayed fold due to technicality and 5G sS10 catching fire while Samsung doesn’t care costumers. Apple will remain good as their user base of 1.4 billion continue to subscribe with services and wearables are still stronger.

8. Krazyass69

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 09, 2019

King of profit due to selling overpriced devices that doesn't justify the price for what it offers.

26. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Actually, if people are buying the devices (they are), it justifies the price.

10. Tipus

Posts: 905; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Wat? :)))

12. TBomb

Posts: 1660; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

@iloveapps - Having a high priced device isn't going to help Apple if the economy ever has a strong decline. People may not switch to Android to get a new phone, but if 50% of the people that want to upgrade can't afford to then it's going to hit Apple's 13% of market share vs Samsung's ~22% because someone who wants to get a new phone has more affordable options. Because the Fold got delayed does not mean that Samsung doesn't care about customers. it means the exact opposite in fact. Them saying "it's the customer's fault. sorry" is not caring about customers. I don't even like Samsung and haven't since I had my S4 (partially blame Verizon) but your incredibly naive. Also, 1.4B devices means nothing because look at how many people own multiple Apple devices. If the average owner has 1.5 Apple devices (iPhone and iPad) that's already almost a count of 500,000,000 devices because their not unique owners. Of those remaining 900,000,000, eliminate a conservative 5% for the tweens that don't pay for their own stuff so they rely on their parents who are not interested in $10/month for music and you are left with 855,000,000. Another very conservative 5% for people who just don't want to pay for a service *raises hand* and you're down to ~800,000,000 unique device owners. So let's stop touting that number like it's a real accomplishment. It means nothing if no one is signing up so until we see statistics about intended subscribers, just stop.

13. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Apple services just made new record.. ”A big part of Apple’s services business is monthly subscriptions — the things like iCloud, Apple Music and Apple News that make money each month from the hardware that’s already out there. Tim Cook says Apple now has 390 million paid subscriptions across its services. Cook didn’t dive into how that breaks down service-by-service, but that’s up roughly 30 million subscribers over last quarter. The company says it expects paid subscribers to surpass half a billion by 2020 (presumably fueled by the launch of its gaming/video services).”

23. TBomb

Posts: 1660; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

@Midan, you missed my point. I'm not saying Apple doesn't have a good amount of subscribers. I'm saying the 1.4B number is misleading. Apple will not be gaining 30M subscribers every quarter for the rest of time. That number will stop, or at least slow down a lot, at some point and I will bet you it will be a lot less than 1.4B subscribers for the foreseeable future. I also said they could even get to 160% of your half a billion quote, so I don't know what are trying to get at here.

17. shm224

Posts: 303; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

Apple: -30% Samsung: -8% Am I the only one to see that Apple is in far bigger trouble here?

21. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

I think one of the few. Samsung most sales are coming from cheap phones. They have lot easier to sell lot of units, just like Huawei too. So you need to look lot more than marketshare or sales too. If you think only selling more units mean better doing company, why not Apple just make $200 dollar iPhone and be number one OEM this year and losing lot of money.. Would you then say Apple doing great?

24. TBomb

Posts: 1660; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Cultural preferences, economic state, and product familiarity are all aspects of important factors. Just because Apple sells the highest profit margin smartphones does not mean they will survive. Let's assume 90% of users never leave their OEM. That means, for every 100 first time phone buyers, if they can't afford the high price of an iphone, they go with a cheap Samsung or cheap Huawei. If those 100 users grow up and get more buying power, 90 of them don't switch to a new OEM - let alone SPECIFICALLY Apple. You need to look at more than just profit numbers too. To answer your question, if Apple was the number one OEM this year and losing money, that means they are the Amazon of phones and yes, that COULD be a very great way of running a business... especially if they truly consider themselves a services company that is exactly what they should be doing.

31. mootu

Posts: 1539; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

"Apple will remain good as their user base of 1.4 billion continue to subscribe with services and wearables are still stronger." Apples userbase is nowhere near 1.4 billion, thats so called active devices, an old iPhone that is kept in a drwaer, charged and turned on maybe once a month is an active device. Many people own 5 Apple devices or more but may have a subscription to only one service. I know plenty of people that don't subscribe to any Apple services. Also tim Cooks high claims of subscribers include people on 1 month free trials and a good majority cancel when the free month ends. Lil Timmy just loves to over inflate the numbers to keep investors happy.

2. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

That's what hype does even when you have mediocre products in your line up. Huawei managed to make everyone believe their exaggerated claims. Honestly xiaomi, oppo and vivo are offering much better value with their line up. The redmi note 7 at just around $150, the oppo reno 10x flagship at just around $600, the vivo v15 offering awesome performance at just $350 while huawei doesn't even include any gorilla glass protection on its entry to mid range devices, they make their own subpar chipsets, the video quality in their phones is seriously lacking yet they still manage to sell so many devices at outrageous prices.

3. Papa_Ji

Posts: 877; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

The real reason why US is banning Huawei.... None of their companies can compete with Huawei.

5. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Last year Apple had top 4 best selling phones in the world leading by iPhone X, and combined they had 6 phones in top 10. Huawei best selling model was Huawei P20 Lite which is under $200 phone. Huawei is like Samsung. Selling lot of phones in every every price point while Apple keeps collecting the money with few models.

7. BullDozer

Posts: 159; Member since: Dec 18, 2015

Collecting the money ... Iphone revenue crashed 17%.

9. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Which is 10 billion more than what Samsung did by selling 35 million more phones, so not sure what you try to say?

11. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

These dudes are immune to research. Their fanboism won't let them acknowledge that Apple has an entirely different business model than Samsung and Huawei.

30. mootu

Posts: 1539; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

"Their fanboism won't let them acknowledge that Apple has an entirely different business model than Samsung and Huawei." Yes a model that is highly reliant on them selling devices that support their services. Without the devices the services cannot exist.

25. raky_b

Posts: 420; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

You own Apple 's shares when you are so proud, or what!? I mean, I wouldn't be so proud to be sheep

6. tokuzumi

Posts: 1961; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

This isn't really surprising. New phones from the big names are mainly minor upgrades over previous models. Processors aren't leaps and bounds better than the previous year like we had 5-6 years ago. Plus, phones have become really expensive the last year or two. You can now spend over $1000 on a phone that will no longer be supported in 2 years. Or I could buy almost a flagship from Huawei or OnePlus for 60-70% of the cost, and get most of what I'd be looking for in a phone. But we can't overlook home field advantage for Huawei and OnePlus in China. I wouldn't be surprised if they offer discounts on their phones (of all levels) in China that make them much better deals than Samsung, LG, and Apple.

14. MEeee

Posts: 440; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Typical iDiots are so proud of about Apple's profit as always.

15. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

And Android idiots are butthurt over the fact that Apple just keeps getting bigger and bigger while these idiots have wanted Apple to fail since first iPhone. Just saying :D

19. OneLove123

Posts: 1257; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

You made money or Apple? Ahahaha

20. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Both ;)

22. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

Unless you're an Apple shareholder receiving dividends you're just an internet fanboy. Arguing the merits of the hardware or software would make you more credible. You don't get a single penny for su*king Tim Cooks di*k on the internet.

16. Habib111

Posts: 45; Member since: Feb 12, 2019

Well did any of you guys made profits forget about Samsung or Apple

18. ManolitoMantoya

Posts: 21; Member since: Jun 05, 2016

As for me I will buy other than a Chinese Phone

27. strawberry

Posts: 123; Member since: Feb 20, 2019

how much samsung or apple give u? they are just commercial companies taking your money

34. Wazupmrg

Posts: 198; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

Apple is losing its ass all around

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