The global smartphone market has experienced an 8 percent contraction, marking its lowest third-quarter level in a decade. This decline is attributed to subdued demand for major brands like Apple and Samsung in most developed markets, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
Data exclusively shared with Reuters reveals that the share of the top five smartphone brands, including Chinese companies Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, has fallen to a three-year low. The report raises concerns that the market’s ongoing slump could impact upcoming earnings at companies like Apple, whose shipments declined by 8 percent in the quarter. Market leader Samsung also faced a significant setback with a 13 percent drop in sell-through volumes during the same period.
However, amidst the overall contraction, Huawei, Apple’s Chinese rival, has gained market share in the quarter despite strict U.S. sanctions. Huawei surprised the industry earlier this year with the release of its Mate 60 Pro smartphone, utilizing an advanced domestically made chip.
On a positive note, overall shipments in the industry increased by 2 percent from the second quarter, raising hopes that the market might break its more than two-year streak of year-on-year declines in the last three months of the year.
Counterpoint cited the recent launch of the iPhone 15 lineup in September as a factor that could potentially revive growth, especially in developed markets such as the United States, Europe, and Korea. The market research firm expects the momentum to continue through the year-end, beginning with the full impact of the iPhone 15 series.
Moreover, upcoming events such as the festive season in India, the 11.11 sale event in China, and end-of-year promotions across regions are anticipated to further bolster the smartphone market.
In an otherwise challenging year for the industry, emerging markets have stood out as a bright spot for smartphone sales. In the third quarter, the Middle East and Africa were the only regions to record year-on-year growth, as reported by Counterpoint data.