Apple suffers as global sales of smartphones grows

CaptureThe fruity cargo cult Apple is floundering even while the smartphone market has picked up, according to the latest figures from the Gartner Grope.

According to the Big G, Apple has had three consecutive quarters of slowing demand and seen its sales decline by 7.7 percent while its rivals saw an increase of 4.3 percent.

Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 344 million units in the second quarter of 2016.  Overall sales of mobile phones contracted by 0.5 percent with only five vendors from the top 10 showing growth. Among them were four Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and BBK Communication Equipment and South Korea’s Samsung.

Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner said that demand for premium smartphones slowed in the second quarter of 2016 as consumers wait for new hardware launches in the second half of the year.

In addition, the decline in sales of “feature phones” (down 14 per cent) bolstered the decline in overall sales of mobile phones in the second quarter of 2016. All mature markets except Japan saw slowing demand for smartphones leading to a decline in sales of 4.9 percent. In contrast, all emerging regions except Latin America saw growth, which led to smartphone sales growing by 9.9 percent.

In the second quarter of 2016, Samsung had nearly 10 percent more market share than Apple. Samsung saw sales of its Galaxy A and Galaxy J series smartphones compete strongly with Chinese manufacturers. Its new smartphone portfolio also helped Samsung win back share it recently lost in emerging markets.

Apple continued its downward trend with a decline of 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2016. Apple sales declined in North America (its biggest market) as well as in Western Europe. However, it witnessed its worst sales decline in Greater China and mature Asia/Pacific regions, where sales declined 26 percent. Apple had its best performance in Eurasia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe regions in the second quarter of 2016, where iPhone sales grew more than 95 percent year on year, Gupta said.

Among the top five smartphone vendors, Oppo exhibited the highest growth in the second quarter of 2016 at 129 percent. This is due to strong sales of its R9 handset in China and overseas.

“Features such as an anti-shake camera optimized for selfies, and rapid charge technology, helped Oppo carve a niche market for itself and boost sales in a highly competitive and commoditized smartphone market,” Gupta said.

Android regained share over iOS to achieve an 86 percent share in the second quarter of 2016. Android’s performance continued to come from demand for mid- to lower-end smartphones from emerging markets, but also from premium smartphones, which recorded a 6.5 percent increase in the second quarter of 2016.

A number of key Android players, such as Samsung with the Galaxy S7, introduced their new high-end devices, but Chinese brands like Huawei and Oppo are also pushing their premium smartphone ranges with more affordable devices.