Demand for Samsung smartphones is on the rise again while several vendors in Australia also face tough competition from Huawei who during the past 12 months have been quietly building out new distribution channels while significantly improving their smartphone offering.
Samsung’s global smartphone shipments rose in the third quarter for the first time in six quarters, but its share slipped slightly in part because Apple shipments soared 22 percent, Strategy Analytics found.
Samsung shipments rose 6 percent to 83.8 million units, and though up, Samsung’s growth did not keep pace with global industrywide growth of 10 percent to 354 million units.
Samsung’s smartphone division “is back on the road to recovery,” said executive director Neil Mawston. “Samsung’s smartphone growth is being driven by select price cuts and attractive new models like the Galaxy Note 5, A8 and J5.”
Despite Samsung’s growth, the company’s smartphone share dipped to 23.7 percent from the year-ago 24.5 percent as Apple’s share rose to 13.6 percent from 12.2 percent. Apple shipments were up 22 percent in the quarter to 48 million.
Though industrywide shipments are up, the quarter marked “the smartphone industry’s slowest growth rate for six years since the depths of the global economic recession back in 2009,” said strategy Analytics director Linda Sui.
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But the third largest smartphone maker, Huawei, may be less familiar to Australian consumers right now but I am tipping that they will put serious pressure on the likes of HTC, Microsoft and the struggling Sony.
Best known for selling telecommunications equipment, it shipped 26.5 million smartphones in the quarter to beat its fellow Chinese smartphone manufacturers Lenovo (including the Motorola brand) and Xiaomi for the second consecutive quarter.
In Australia Huawei hired Tyler McGee the former Vice President of Samsung’s Mobile Division, McGee was immediately able to open doors for the Chinese brand resulting in both carriers and retailers moving to range Huawei products in Australia.
Of all major smartphone makers, Huawei’s shipments grew the fastest – 60.9% – versus the same quarter last year. The company is an emerging giant in the smartphone world based on its strength in its home country of China a move that is set to have global ramifications for Apple.
Last quarter, Huawei topped the Chinese market share rankings for the first time. In fact, Huawei could become the first Chinese smartphone company to ship 100 million smartphones in a calendar year.
And Huawei’s growth wasn’t fuelled solely on cheap phones, which drive the bulk of its smartphone shipments, especially in emerging markets. Sales of its mid-to-high range phones, including the Honor 6 Plus and Ascend P8 grew 25% from last year, according to the company.
One anomaly to Huawei’s growth is that it has next to no U.S. presence. But even that is starting to change. Huawei teamed up with Google to develop the Nexus 6P, which first went on sale earlier this month and is being promoted by Google online and in television commercials.
Like Samsung and Apple, the two market leaders, Huawei designs its own microchips. Its Chinese rivals usually buy chips from vendors like Qualcomm and MediaTek, which adds to the total cost of materials, and may make it harder for Xiaomi and Lenovo to compete on price.