Following the Q1 2019 global smartphone report by IHS Markit, it's revealed that sales overall are struggling, but Huawei continues to grow. Global shipments tallied up to 323.9 million so far in 2019, compared to 345.6 million in Q1 2018, which equates to a 6.9-percent YoY loss.
The Chinese electronics company Huawei experienced a 50-percent growth YoY in Q1 2019 and shipped 59.1 million devices. This first quarter success is almost on par with the company's Q1 2018 sales of 60.5 million units moved. With the starving smartphone market, Huawei is only one of three OEMs to show any form of growth in the first quarter of 2019.
Samsung still remains the global leader in smartphone shipments; however, it experienced a 9-percent YoY loss in Q1 2019. The company still shipped 70.8 million units, which gave it a little breathing room ahead of Huawei and other brands. Much of the data seems to show that whatever part of the market Samsung is losing, Huawei is snatching up and running away with.
Apple, another company gunning for the top spot, struggled even further than Samsung. It only shipped 43.8 million iPhones in 2019 compared to 52.2 million in the first quarter of 2018. Overall, Apple experienced a YoY loss of 16-percent, continuing on its loss from Q4 of 2018.
Even with Samsung and Apple's losses, Korean manufacturer LG experienced the greatest single YoY decline of 24-percent. The company only shipped 8.6 million smartphones, which was also on the lower end.
Other companies to note are Vivo and Tecno, who were among the growing this pasts quarter. Vivo shipped 24.3 million units and was blessed with a 14-percent YoY growth. Tecno's growth was less significant; however, it still shipped 3.8 million devices and grew 5-percent.
With the results from Q1 2019 in, it's time to look at trends in the market. With Huawei, Vivo, and Tecno all experiencing growth, it appears that cheaper smartphones are selling more. Huawei has a sub-brand HONOR that sells wallet-friendly devices. Similarly, much of Vivo's products are marketed at a cheaper price point, and Hong Kong-based company Tecno Mobile is popular in India and sells it's smartphones at a budget price as well.
These three companies have a market space in the budget area, which is likely why they all experienced growth to some degree. Apple, however, only manufactures premium smartphones with the cheapest iPhone retailing at $750. It's quite possible that Apple is experiencing such a loss due to it only offering expensive devices.
Samsung is similar to Apple in that many of its products are at the premium price point such as the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. The difference with Samsung, however, is that it also produces a budget line of phones as well. What previously was the Galaxy J series is now the Galaxy A series. Samsung has recently updated this lineup to keep up with the modern competition and still maintain a lower price.
Other companies such as Google are trying to get in on the budget smartphone game. The frequently leaked Pixel 3a and 3a XL are rumored to be announced at this week's IO conference. Google admitted that the Pixel 3 series did not sell well, and the company believes the loss in sales was due to premium-priced phones in general not selling as well.
The time for smartphones is getting more and more exciting by the day. Only time will tell whether expensive, folding phones will be the future, or whether cheaper phones with better value will take the reigns.