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IDC finds smartphone shipments up 6.5% from previous quarter

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 333.2 million phones in 2Q19, which was up 6.5% over the previous quarter, IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker states.

However, worldwide, smartphone shipments are continuing to decline, with the figure dropping 2.3% year over year.

According to the research, there were challenges across many markets with China and the United States experiencing the sharpest quarterly declines.

However, the declines in China during the first half of 2019 have been less significant than the second half of 2018.

According to IDC, this suggests the smartphone market, the world's largest single market, is recovering slightly.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) continued the strong momentum from 2018 with shipments up more than 3% in the quarter. This was fueled by growth across India and many Southeast Asia markets.

IDC Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers research manager Anthony Scarsella says, “Although the overall market remains in decline, the performance in the second quarter indicates that demand is starting to pick up as the market begins to stabilise again.”

“A key driver in the second quarter was the availability of vastly improved mid-tier devices that offer premium designs and features while significantly undercutting the ultra-high-end in price. Combine this with intensified and generous trade-in programs across major markets and channels and upgrading now makes more sense to consumers,” says Scarsella.

According to IDC, the vendors at the top of the market continue to get stronger, while local OEMs and once popular industry names struggled.

In 2Q19, the top five vendors accounted for 69% of the total market volume, and the top 10 vendors accounted for 87%. This trend is similar to that of vendor competition in the PC market.

According to IDC, with 5G beginning to unfold in many markets around the world, the challenges are set to increase for any vendors without strong consumer mindshare.

IDC Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers program vice president Ryan Reith, says, “Despite a lot of uncertainty surrounding Huawei the company managed to hold its position at number two in terms of market share.”

“When you look at the top of the market - Samsung, Huawei, and Apple - each vendor lost a bit of share from last quarter, and when you look down the list the next three - Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo - all gained. Part of this is related to the timing of product launches, but it is hard not to assume this trend could continue,” says Reith.

Of the vendors, Samsung maintained the top position in the market for 2Q19 and returned to annual growth of 5.5% with a total of 75.5 million smartphones shipped.

As noted in its recent earnings call, the company struggled to sell flagship devices as many consumers are holding onto devices longer than ever and opting for a less expensive replacement option.

Huawei saw its shipment volumes decline 0.6% when compared to 1Q19, which has been impacted by U.S.-China trade tensions.

Apple shipped 33.8 million new iPhones during 2Q19, which was down significantly from the same quarter a year ago. However, regardless of slightly lower market share and device selling prices, as pointed out in yesterday’s earnings call, the iPhone installed base continues to grow.

Xiaomi experienced a small year-over-year decline during the quarter with a total of 32.3 million smartphones shipped. Xiaomi is still facing challenges in returning to positive year-over-year growth in China in part due to increased competition from Huawei, IDC says, although the Indian market may manage to increase its dominance.

OPPO performed well in China and India, which together accounted for nearly three-quarters of its shipments in 2Q19.