Smartphone sales are rising again, but not for everybody

Choose mobile phone. Heap of the different smartphones with different application on the screen. Mod...


The number of smartphones sold in Q3 of 2019.

Source: Strategy Analytics


Phone fatigue — If you’re exhausted by the urge to upgrade your phone every year, you’re not alone. Smartphone sales have been on the decline for the past two years. However, according to a report from Strategy Analytics, the market swinging back in the other direction.

The what and why — “Global smartphone shipments grew 2% annually from 359.8 million units in Q3 2018 to 366.3 million in Q3 2019,” said Strategy Analytics director Linda Sui. “Worldwide demand for smartphones is recovering, due to strong pricing competition... and new innovations.”

It’s important to note that not every tech company is a winner here. Apple is showing signs of stagnation and even decline, though Strategy Analytics believes the iPhone 11 may be helping to stabilize sales. The real victors here are Samsung and Huawei, who saw sales growth of 8% and 29%, respectively.

Samsung’s wide variety of devices may be one of the factors in its growth. If you want a solid Android phone, you can get usually find one of its flagship phones, like the Galaxy S10e, for hundreds less than an iPhone 11. Having more devices available at a wider range of prices helps, especially in emerging markets like India.

A volume business — The study highlights the value of giving consumers more options. While Samsung does contribute to the exhausting upgrade culture with a near-constant release cycle, that market-flooding approach is allowing it to pull forward on sales numbers. The lack of truly budget and region-specific models could possibly be limiting Apple's volume reach.