It seems like Samsung and Apple just aren't getting the memo from consumers that people aren't happy with the pricing of their flagship devices; prices are pushing into the well over $1000 zone. Apple has seen its iPhone upgrade cycle lengthen to four years with much of the reason placed on the high price of the smartphones. Samsung is facing the same challenge as its prices go ever higher with each new generation. A new report from research firm Gartner says that Huawei is gaining ground on them in part because the pricing of iPhone and Galaxy devices is so high.
Smartphone makers from China, like Xiaomi, are going more affordable; Xiaomi unveiled a new flagship device called the Mi 9 that bested the Pixel 3 in some benchmarks for $445. Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta says that the iPhone recently had its worst quarterly year-on-year sales decline since the first quarter of 2016, indicating that consumers won't pay such high prices anymore. Gupta specifically says that the high prices at Apple and Samsung are putting consumers off.
Huawei is seeing its global sales boom, despite not being welcome in the U.S. over continued fears of spying. The U.S. has gone so far as to ask its allies to avoid Huawei products. Gartner's report lists Samsung and Apple in first and second place for global smartphone marketshare sitting at 17% and 16% of the market respectively. Both Samsung and Apple did lose market share in Q4 2018 compared to Q4 2017, while Huawei gained. A previous report from Canalys showed similar shrinkage for Apple and Samsung with Huawei gaining globally.
Gupta has said that Apple is losing ground in emerging markets like China not only because of high prices but also because Chinese makers like Xiaomi and Huawei are increasing their quality. Apple recently cut iPhone prices in China, and demand for the devices boomed. Gartner estimates that Apple sold 64.5 million iPhones in Q4 2018, down 12% from the same quarter of 2017. Gupta notes that flagship devices from Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo have the same features found on an iPhone, but the price of the other devices is "quite low."