Samsung may be headed towards a record quarterly profit, as its recent third quarter guidance indicates, but its smartphone shipments are down. According to data released by International Data Corporation (IDC), Samsung had a "challenging" quarter in which its smartphone shipments declined 13.4 percent to 72.2 million units.
The good news for Samsung is that even though smartphone shipments saw a noticeable dip, it still leads the way. Those 72.2 million shipments were more than any other phone maker, and enough to hold onto the top spot in market share, with Samsung controlling 20.3 percent of the global smartphone market. That's down from 22.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.
"While this was still enough to maintain the top market share position, the company does continue to lose share. The launch of the Galaxy Note 9 was successful and the device continues to build in shipments. However, Samsung's bigger challenge is the ground they are losing at the mid-range and low-end," IDC said.
Samsung's declining shipments are indicative of a broader trend. Smartphone vendors combined to ship 355.2 million units in the third quarter of 2018, resulting in a 6 percent year-or-over year drop. It's actually the fourth consecutive quarter of declining smartphone shipments, "which raises questions about the market's future," IDC says.
The closest threat to Samsung for the top spot is Huawei. After seemingly giving up on the US market, Huawei still notched 52 million smartphone shipments, giving it a 14.6 percent slice of the global smartphone market. It's the second consecutive quarter that Huawei placed No. 2 on the list. It also sets the scene for an interesting holiday season.
"The race at the top of the market continues to be a heated one as Huawei once again slipped past Apple to the second position," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Although Huawei may have beat out Apple in Q3, the holiday quarter could have Apple as the market leader thanks to the launch of three new bezel-less devices. No matter who leads in the overall market the holiday quarter should be an exciting one with a wide selection of new flagship devices available."
Black Friday and Cyber Monday always see a rash of sales on electronics, and each year the sale season seems to start earlier than the last. Some vendors have already kicked off pre-BF sales. We'll be keeping an eye on things and will pass along any spectacular deals we come across.