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According to the latest research from Counterpoint's Market Monitor service, the global smartphone shipments declined 3 percent annually, recording 386.8 million units in 3Q 2018.
Samsung continued to lead the smartphone market with 19 percent market share in the quarter. The South Korean giant recorded its highest smartphone shipments ever in India, said Counterpoint.
While Chinese players continued their growth trajectory with strong performances in markets outside China.
Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, said, "This is the first time that the global smartphone market has declined for three consecutive quarters. It can be attributed to a weakening demand in developed markets like China, USA, and Western Europe which account for almost half of smartphone sales globally."
Pathak commenting on the strong performance of the Chinese brands added, "Despite the decline in its home market, Chinese brands OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi reached new highs in smartphone shipments in a quarter. Huawei was also able to maintain its 50+ million smartphone shipments and retain its 2nd position in 3Q 2018. This suggests that companies are reducing their dependence on their home country. The brands will further expand outside China as they push into Asia Pacific countries and Europe."
Apple iPhone shipments remained flat annually, revenues for the devices grew 29 percent with a record average selling price of $793.
Counterpoint said that some emerging markets, like India, showed double-digit growth, it was not enough to compensate for the volume decline in developed markets.
Since emerging markets are under-penetrated, they have a smaller smartphone base and are not able to offset the global decline. However, this also presents long-term growth opportunities for OEMs with many entering such markets to grow their sales.
Commenting on this market trend, Research Analyst Shobhit Srivastava noted, "The growth in the emerging markets is led by Chinese smartphone players that are venturing out of China to capture sales. The offerings from these OEMs have intensified competition and many features and capabilities common among flagship models are now progressively diffusing through to the lower price bands. This is also affecting local smartphone players in the emerging economies, which are struggling to maintain a foothold."