DID YOU BUY a smartphone in the last three months? Well, damnit, you didn't buy enough. According to data firm IDC, global smartphone sales dropped six per cent in Q3, meaning ‘only' 335.2 million handsets were shipped. How can you sleep at night?
If you're looking for a scapegoat to blame for a worrying trend that's objectively good for the health of the planet as a whole, Samsung would be a good place to start. The South Korean giants saw a decline of 13.4 per cent in smartphone sales, which is a big deal given it accounts for around a fifth of the market as a whole.
Taking a more ‘big-picture' view of things, China is another area where things long-term trends aren't looking great. For the sixth consecutive quarter, shipments were down in a country that represents a third of all global sales.
Still, it wasn't all bad news for fans of gobbling up the planet's finite resources for short-term fiscal gain. Huawei shifted 52 million units compared to 39.1 million this time last year. Not too bad for a company that has essentially been frozen out of the world's third-biggest country.
That was enough to keep it in second place overall, just ahead of Apple which shifted 46.9 million units - a modest 200,000 improvement on Q3 2017. Xiaomi rounded up the top four, shifting 34.3 million phones: a decent rise from the 28.3 million it sold a year ago.
While it's pretty clear we're close to market saturation, and it's hard to think of a time when new smartphones offered that genuine ‘wow factor', there are reasons to think this may be a bit of a blip. For starters, Q4 sees the release of a bunch of heavy-hitting phones. New iPhones, the Huawei Mate 20, Google Pixel 3 and the OnePlus 6T have all just arrived, after all.
If things don't begin to see a lift in Q4, then it could be bad news for smartphone makers, but perhaps that will trigger a fresh burst of innovation. Something more innovative than throwing another camera into the mix, even? We can but dream. µ
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