Worldwide smartphone shipments experienced a fourth consecutive quarter of decline, research company Canalys found, falling 7 per cent year-on-year in Q3.

In a statement, Canalys said the Chinese market felt the greatest pain. The country “had another disappointing quarter”, with shipments of 100.6 million units down 15.2 per cent year-on-year.

Globally, shipments stood at 348.9 million in the quarter.

India remained the world’s second-largest market ahead of the US, but “both countries were hit by weaker seasonal performance” compared with Q3 2017, added Canalys. Shipments in India declined 1.1 per cent year-on-year to 40.4 million: in the US the figure was 40 million units, down 0.4 per cent.

China woes
Canalys analyst Mo Jia said the Chinese market was showing “no improvement in terms of smartphone sell-in”. The period of decline has put “tremendous pressure” on vendors as component and labour costs in the country rise, leaving manufacturers “more focused than ever” on expanding overseas “to hedge against their business at home”.

“The current international trade environment and geopolitical issues are not great for business either. Only a few are likely to survive the tougher winter.”

Shipments in greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) slipped 14.6 per cent annually, making it the worst performing region, while there was small growth in central and eastern Europe in the quarter at 2.2 per cent, followed by 0.4 per cent in Africa.

Samsung declines
Despite another quarter of declines for the overall market, Samsung was in fact the only vendor to register a fall in shipments, down 14 per cent. The vendor’s global market share declined from 22 per cent in Q3 2017 to 20.4 per cent in the recent quarter.

Chinese vendor Huawei’s shipments grew 33 per cent to 52 million units, while Apple was up 0.4 per cent to 47 million units. Xiaomi and Oppo rounded out the top five, as Chinese vendors combined held their highest-ever share of global smartphone shipments at 52 per cent.

Canalys research manager Rushabh Doshi noted Huawei had made “a remarkable rise, with a competitive portfolio covering all price bands.”

“Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, together with other Chinese brands, such as OnePlus and Transsion, are catching up fast, developing a much stronger footing outside of China.”