World's most popular smartphone brands, Q2 2018

Are Samsung and Apple still ruling the roost?

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There may be new iPhones coming, but it isn't Apple that has been causing a stir in the smartphone market.

Instead it's Huawei, which for the first time toppled Apple as having the second largest share of the global smartphone market in the second quarter.

The Chinese company sold 49.9 million units in Q2, an increase of 38.6 per cent year-on-year amid a flat performance by Apple and an expansion of its Honor brand into 70 markets. Its market share grew from 10.1 per cent in the first quarter to 13.3 in the second quarter, according to data from Gartner.

"Huawei continues to bring innovative features into its smartphones and expand its smartphone portfolio to cover larger consumer segments," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "Its investment into channels, brand building and positioning of the Honor devices helped drive sales."

The vendor's shipments in the Middle East and Africa grew 76 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2018, while revenue surged 100 per cent, Gene Jiao, president of Huawei Consumer Business Group in MEA told The National.

The company is, however, virtually shut out of the US market with no major carriers selling its smartphones amid concerns it could facilitate government spying.

Apple's struggles

Apple now finds itself ranked third in the smartphone market ahead of its release of new devices on September 12.

Following last year's launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, this month's release is reported to include the "iPhone 9", which will apparently feature an iPhone X-like 6.1in LCD screen, and a new, possibly bigger version of the iPhone X.

"Minimal incremental value in Apple's current-generation flagship iPhones led to slower growth in the second quarter of 2018," said Mr Gupta. “Demand for the iPhone X has started to slow down much earlier than when other new models were introduced.”

"Growing competition from Chinese brands and consumers’ greater expectations for phone value is putting immense pressure on Apple to deliver enhanced value on their premium iPhones to foster growth," he added.

Samsung powers on

Samsung retained its position as number one for market share, although sales slipped 12 per cent year-on-year to 72.3 million in the second quarter. It's market share, at 19.3 per cent, is well ahead of Huawei in second place.

Mr Gupta said Samsung has been hit by slowing global demand for its flagship devices but growth is "expected to be revived" following the release of its Galaxy Note 9 device which hit shops last week.

The company has moved on from its disastrous launch of the Note 7 which had to be recalled after battery fires and the model was eventually canned.


Read more:

Apple to launch new iPhone X models on September 12

Is Samsung Galaxy Note 9 the new ‘best’ in Android phones?

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