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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

Which smartphone cracked the market in 2018?

Our devices are always evolving, but which are the global best-sellers of the past year?

Just more than a billion smartphones were shipped to retailers in the first three quarters of this year – 38.9 million less than the same period in 2017. Still, a billion is nothing to sniff at.

The National lists the top five most popular brands, based on the number of shipments as compiled by the International Data Corporation.

1. Samsung

221.9 million smartphones shipped,

down 8.7 per cent y-o-y

The company’s Galaxy Note 9 – unveiled in August – was dubbed the “best Android phone” by tech commentators. This model promised a better battery life, a Bluetooth-connected stylus pen, an intelligent camera and a tie-in with Fortnite – the hottest multi-player game on the planet right now.

In growing markets for the industry such as India and Indonesia, where Samsung has held a lead position for many years, its incumbent status is being challenged by the rapid growth of Chinese brands.

Samsung is now aiming for a massive update – including a 5G-enabled model – for the 10th anniversary of its leading Galaxy S family in February next year.

2. Huawei

145.5 million smartphones shipped, up 30 per cent y-o-y

After trailing at third position during the first quarter of the year, Chinese Huawei managed to dethrone Apple to become the world’s second largest manufacturer of smartphones in the second quarter. Its flagship product Mate 20 Pro, launched in October, is a strong contender against top products from Apple and Samsung.

“In the smartphones segment, we are looking forward to increasing the sales revenue by at least 20 per cent in 2019 compared with this year … our new Mate 20 Series is going to facilitate this,” said Kevin Ho, president of the handset product line at Huawei consumer business group.

3. Apple

140.4 million smartphones shipped,

up 1.4 per cent y-o-y

Apple’s new 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max continued off the success from 2017’s iPhone X, bringing a new screen size option with more power and increased performance.

Though Huawei managed to surpass Apple, industry experts feel that the holiday quarter will belong to the American company.

“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,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager for IDC’s worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker.

4. Xiaomi

94.2 smartphones shipped, up 46 per cent y-o-y

Xiaomi, which went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July with a valuation of $54 billion, has cemented its position in the smartphone industry by making low-priced devices that draw comparisons to Apple and Samsung phones.

Its flagship model Pocophone F1 was launched in the UAE in September and the company is targeting a threefold sales increase in the Middle East this financial year.

No 5 Oppo

83.2 million smartphones shipped,

down 1.4 per cent y-o-y

Oppo’s flagship product 6.4-inch R17, launched in September, helped the brand break into the higher-income segment than its previous models.

Chinese mobile products, which cater to both high- and low-budget consumers, underpinned an increase in smartphone sales globally in the third quarter of 2018, according to US researcher Gartner.

“If we take out Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi out of the global smartphone vendors list, sales to end users would have declined by 5.2 per cent,” said Anshul Gupta, a research director at Gartner.

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Read more:

Smartphone showdown: Huawei's latest vs Apple and Samsung

Budget smartphone maker Xiaomi targets threefold sales increase in the Middle East

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Updated: December 27, 2018 08:16 PM

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