Chinese mobile products, which cater to both high and low-income consumers, underpinned an increase in smartphone sales globally in the third quarter of 2018, according to US-based researcher Gartner.
“If we take out Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi out of the global smartphone vendors list, sales to end users would have declined by 5.2 per cent,” said Anshul Gupta, a research director at Gartner.
Overall smartphone sales grew 1.4 per cent to reach 389 million units in the third quarter. While sales of smartphones nosedived for most mobile phone manufacturers, Shenzhen-based Huawei saw demand for its products growing by 43 per cent in the third quarter.
“Led by low-price smartphones, enhanced camera features and high-quality resolution displays, Chinese manufacturers boosted their sales across emerging markets in the third quarter of 2018,” said Mr Gupta.
Although South Korean company Samsung is still the global leader in terms of market share, its stable of flagship phones - the S9, S9+ and Note 9 - have failed to take off while its mid-tier and low-end phones face strong competition from Chinese brands. Its smartphone sales declined 14 per cent whereas Apple’s performance was flat at 0.7 per cent during the third quarter.
“Apple’s iPhones are facing a saturated premium smartphone market, with slowing growth rates,” said Mr Gupta.
In the wake of decelerating sales, manufacturers are moving their attention to new technologies like 5G and foldable phones to enhance user experience. Several vendors, including Samsung, Huawei and LG, are expected to launch new foldable form products in 2019.
“It is unlikely that 5G will be seen in mobile devices in significant volumes before 2020,” said Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner. “We expect 5G mobile phone sales to total 65 million units in 2020.”
Huawei is set to release a phone which can take 3D pictures, according to a Bloomberg report.
The 3D images can then be used to create models of people and other objects that can be imported into augmented reality apps.