Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 1.7% in the second quarter of 2019, totalling 368 million units, according to Gartner.
"Demand for high-end smartphones has slowed at a greater rate than demand for midrange and low-end smartphones," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. "To try to boost smartphone replacements, we've seen manufacturers bringing premium features such as multi-lens front/back cameras, bezel-less displays and large batteries from their flagship smartphones into lower-priced models."
According to Gartner, among the top five global smartphone vendors, Huawei and Samsung exhibited the strongest annual sales increases in the second quarter of 2019 at 16.5% and 3.8%, respectively.
"As a result, they both grew market share in the quarter, which led them to account for more than a third of total smartphone sales globally," said Gupta.
The Huawei ban announcement led to a sharp decline in Huawei's smartphone sales in the global market in the second quarter of 2019, although sales did improve slightly on the ban's deferment.
While its smartphone sales total was weaker globally, strong promotion and brand positioning helped Huawei sell a record number of smartphones in Greater China in the quarter, growing 31% in the region.
Gartner added that Samsung sold over 75 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2019 and grew its share by 1.1 percentage points year-over-year.
"Strong demand for Samsung's new Galaxy A series smartphones and the revamp of its entire entry-level and midrange smartphone range helped this positive performance," said Gupta. "Demand for Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 started to weaken during the quarter, however, indicating that achieving growth in 2019 as a whole will be a challenge."
According to the market analysis and research firm sales of iPhones continued to decline year-over-year, although at a lesser rate compared with the first quarter of 2019. Apple sold just over 38 million iPhones in the second quarter, a 13.8% decline year over year.
"Too few incremental benefits are preventing existing iPhone users from replacing their smartphones," said Gupta." Apple has reached an inflection point marked by shifting its business toward services, which represented 21% of the vendor's total revenue in the first quarter of 2019."
China, Brazil growth
Among the top five countries in smartphones sales, China held the number one position with 101 million smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2019, up 0.5% year-over-year. With more 5G smartphone models available in the second quarter, vendors in China had to clear out inventory of 4G high-end smartphone models. Achieving 10.8 million smartphone sales in the same period, Brazil was the only other country in the top five to exhibit growth (1.3% year-ove- year). As the economy in Brazil is starting to slowly recover, this smartphone growth is a small indicator of stronger economic growth expected in 2020.
India sold a total of 35.7 million smartphones, achieving market share of 9.7% in the second quarter of 2019. Those sales in India represented a 2.3% decline year-over-year, however, mainly due to slowing consumer upgrades from feature phones to smartphones.
Gartner believes global smartphone sales will remain weak for the rest of the year and analysts expect that sales of worldwide smartphone sales to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019.
In early August 2019 the research firm said worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units, a 2.5% decline year-over-year.
The global research and market analysis firm states that in terms of worldwide smartphone sales to end users by region, worldwide 2018-2020, Japan (-6.5%), Western Europe (-5.3%) and North America (-4.4%) are set to exhibit the worst declines.
For Sub-Saharan Africa, the figure stipulated for 2019 is 90,104 (measured at thousands of units).