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According to a new report International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone vendors shipped a total of 355.2 million units during the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18), resulting in a year-over-year decline of 6.0 percent.
However, Samsung remained the largest smartphone vendor in terms of market share, accounting for 20.3 percent of shipments in 3Q18, declined 13.4 percent year over year in the quarter.
Samsung had a very challenging quarter with smartphone shipments down 13.4 percent from 3Q17, with overall volumes of 72.2 million. While this was still enough to maintain the top market share position, the company does continue to lose share. The launch of the Galaxy Note 9 was successful and the device continues to build in shipments.
However, Samsung's bigger challenge is the ground they are losing at the mid-range and low-end. Recent announcements of revamping the product portfolio to bring new features and awareness to non-flagship models could possibly help this slide. Samsung will most likely look to new A-Series devices to fill the gaps left in the mid-tier across numerous markets.
While Huawei landed in the number two position for the second straight quarter.
Despite its share was down slightly from last quarter's 15.9 percent, overall the company should be pleased with shipping 52.0 million handsets and grabbing 14.6 percent of the overall market. While Cupertino based tech giant Apple came third with 0.5 percent from the 46.7 million units last year.
Meanwhile, IDC pointed out that China's domestic market, which represents roughly one-third of all smartphones consumed, has been in decline since the second quarter of 2017, and 3Q18 was the sixth consecutive quarter where the market sees contraction.
China was down 11 percent in the first half of 2018 (1H18), and the challenges continued into 3Q18 and IDC expects this decline to decelerate with the market returning to flat growth in 2019.
"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's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.
He said, "High penetration levels, mixed with some challenging economic times, has slowed the world's largest smartphone market. Despite this, we believe this market 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."
The report also said, "Xiaomi once again grew its share to a new company high capturing 9.7 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 3Q18. Xiaomi continues its global expansion with market share gains in countries where it has been growing its presence, including India and Indonesia, and making headway into European markets like Spain where it continues to cause disruption."
Despite that, OPPO remained the number 5 vendor in terms of market share with 29.9 million shipments in 3Q18, down 2.1 percent from a year ago," the research firm added.