Smartphone sales down for fourth straight quarter

Samsung kept the top spot in the global smartphone market which saw a fourth consecutive sales decline, according to research fi
Samsung kept the top spot in the global smartphone market which saw a fourth consecutive sales decline, according to research firms

Global smartphone sales fell for a fourth consecutive quarter in the period through September, suggesting a challenging market for device makers awaiting catalysts to spark sales, researchers said.

A report by research firm IDC late Thursday showed 355 million handsets delivered in the third quarter, a year-on-year decline of six percent.

"IDC maintains its view that the market will return to growth in 2019, but at this stage it is too early to tell what that growth will look like," the report said.

A separate survey by strategy Analytics showed an eight percent drop in sales to 360 million units.

"The global market has now declined for four consecutive quarters and is effectively in a recession," said Strategy Analytics director Linda Sui.

"The smartphone industry is struggling to come to terms with heavily diminished carrier subsidies, longer replacement rates, inventory buildup in several regions, and a lack of exciting hardware design innovation."

According to Strategy Analytics, Apple's iPhone sales of 46.9 million units suggested the California giant is focusing on price increases, capping its overall volume growth.

Samsung remained the top vendor with just over 20 percent of sales, according to both surveys.

Chinese-based Huawei held second place with over 14 percent and Apple remained third with roughly 13 percent.

The fourth and fifth largest, respectively, were Chinese device makers Xiaomi and Oppo.

The researchers said a slowdown in China is a major factor in the slump in global sales, while noting that the market could pick up next year as makers introduce new devices compatible with superfast 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks.

"China's domestic market continues to be challenged as overall consumer spending around smartphones has been down," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC.

"Despite this, we believe this will begin to recover in 2019 and beyond, driven in the short term by a large, built up refresh cycle across all segments, and in the outer years of the forecast supported by 5G migration."


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Nov 03, 2018
I think that now that everyone owns a smartphone and is comfortable with how to use it, why toss it out for a new one? These things last for years so the only reason to buy a new one is vanity. Having a "new one" seems to be the "in thing" to do. Well with cash for a new phone getting harder to get because of rising costs on everything else with no increase in income the phone goes down the priority list pretty quickly. I have a 5 year old Blackberry that still works exactly as it did 5 years ago doing everything I ask of it, why buy a new phone? If you are an "app ape" and load up with all the latest "fad apps" you may need a new more powerful phone to run them. If you just use the phone for "making phone calls and sending texts", there is no need to replace the thing. The rest of the push for a new phone is all in the "marketing" of the products. I believe the underlying thought of most phone users is "I have a good phone, it does everything I want, why buy new?".

Nov 03, 2018
KD, I agree with you that smartphones are not about need but want. People want the convenience of multi-versatile portable phones. Some people want the perceived status of owning the iphone.

Though the argument over market-share is confusing price with value. Apple continues to insist that their customers receive more value for their purchase & therefore Apple charges more for the top-end iphones. The stability of their market share shows their depth of perception. Also eflected in their ROI & again with the stock market valuation for Apple shares.

Which is more profitable? Selling a hundred million iphones at a thousand dollars each? Or, selling 500 million competing phones at two hundred dollars each?

Cross-referencing with the costs of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, marketing costs, service & replacement of defective products, costs of store staffs & profit expectations by the retailers?

You just gotta do the math.

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