Skip to main content

Samsung’s dominance slips further as phone market slumps by 6 percent

Samsung Galaxy A9 hands-on
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The global smartphone market has suffered a drop of 6 percent in overall sale numbers, according to a report on the third quarter of 2018 from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Similar to the drop in smartphone sales in the first quarter of the year, the IDC points at a slowdown in the Chinese market as being one of the primary factors for the global slump. Since China accounts for roughly a third of the overall global sales for smartphones, a reduction in Chinese buying tends to hit the market hard.

“China’s domestic market continues to be challenged as overall consumer spending around smartphones has been down,” said Ryan Reith, IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers program vice president. “High penetration levels, mixed with some challenging economic times, has slowed the world’s largest smartphone market.”

Another significant reason for the slump is a drop in sales for Samsung. While the Korean company still sits pretty atop the pile with a 20.3 percent market share, sales have fallen 13.4 percent from 83.3 million in the third quarter of 2017 to 72.2 million this last quarter. According to the report, pressure in India and Indonesia from manufacturers like Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi are the most likely reasons for Samsung’s drop in sales. While the Galaxy Note 9 sold well, Samsung’s lack of strong midrange and budget range devices is starting to seriously hurt the company in certain markets. However, Samsung is looking to alter that by offering more feature-packed midrange options like the Galaxy A9.

Other manufacturers did better amid the slump. After passing Apple to become the second-largest phone manufacturer, Huawei’s reach has grown by another 32.9 percent — for a total of 52 million sales in this quarter. Apple’s sales grew too, though only by 0.5 percent to 46.9 million. The IDC expects that the recent release of a new iPhone range will mean stronger sales during the holiday period.

Xiaomi also continues to grow, adding 6 million sales to its numbers from the third quarter of 2017. If it keeps up its strong growth, we could see another Chinese company surpass Apple — but that seems unlikely for at least the next few years, even with further expansion into the U.K.

This is the fourth consecutive quarter the smartphone market has shrunk, and it shows no sign of stopping. It seems most consumers are happy to wait for longer before upgrading their phone — and that delay is hurting the market as a whole. However, it might not be forever, and the IDC predicts growth will return in 2019.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
Samsung brings the Galaxy S23’s new software to older phones
Android 13 logo on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Samsung this week announced that it will be rolling out its latest One UI 5.1 software to current Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S22, Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Galaxy Z Flip 4 lineups. The company debuted the Android 13-powered One UI 5.1 update on the Galaxy S23 Ultra this month, and it's bringing those extra features to general users.

“One UI 5.1 is the up-to-date example of Samsung’s commitment to providing Galaxy users with the latest innovations as soon as possible,”  Samsung's Janghyun Yoon said in a blog post. “Over the past several weeks, we have worked closely with our service providers and carrier partners to bring One UI 5.1 to current Galaxy smartphones and tablets around the world within a few short weeks of the Galaxy S23 series announcement.”

Read more
This Galaxy S23 Ultra case gives Samsung users a huge iPhone 14 feature
A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Samsung has finally revealed the next generation of Galaxy smartphones: the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra. Though you can preorder the Galaxy S23 right now, the phones won’t be shipping until February 17, 2023. But you can always start prepping for your shiny new toy by picking up some of the best Galaxy S23 cases and S23 screen protectors right now.

I did notice one interesting case from Spigen, one of the more well-known and popular case makers with plenty of affordable offerings. I’m specifically pointing out the Spigen Ultra Hybrid OneTap MagSafe Ring case for the S23 Ultra. I’m not sure why this case is only for the Ultra and not the regular S23 or S23 Plus, but it is doing something that I wish all case manufacturers would do — for both Android and iPhone. And, yes, it's one of the best Galaxy S23 Ultra cases on the market.
Bringing the iPhone's best feature to the S23 Ultra

Read more
5 things the iPhone has to change in 2023 before I ditch Android
iPhone 14 Pro with a black always-on screen.

The iPhone’s operating system is many things, but perfect is not one of them. It’s been two years since I shifted to using an iPhone as my primary device, but I still use an Android as my secondary smartphone. And if I weren’t invested in the Apple ecosystem, I would have ditched my iPhone a long time ago.

I have been hoping desperately for iOS to get better at some things Android has been doing for years. For instance, I love scrolling through Twitter while watching a music video on YouTube. I can do this simultaneously on an Android thanks to multiwindow support, but iOS only offers picture-in-picture at best.

Read more