Apple seem to be alone among the world’s top five smartphone vendors to register growth in the third quarter this year as the mobile market suffered a double-digit decline.
Global leader Samsung Electronics slumped 8% to 64 million units in the three months ended September, while Chinese vendors Oppo and Vivo were each down at least 20%, according to the latest data from Canalys and Counterpoint researchers.
Weak demand in China, which Samsung called out as a major drag on its sales of phone components this week, has weighed on the industry this year.
Xiaomi weathered the hit better than its compatriots because of its wider international presence, the researchers said. Shipments of iPhones, whose latest generation was released earlier this year than last, were up slightly.
The premium tier is the only segment of the mobile market that’s shown resilience, and Apple’s strength in that category helped it reach its best third-quarter share to date, according to Canalys.
It further closed the gap on Samsung, whose highlight in the period was the launch of new foldable handsets that improved its product mix with more high-end offerings.
The South Korean electronics giant, which appointed Jay Y Lee as its executive chairman this week, is betting on foldables as the key to unlocking growth in the largely stagnant smartphone business.
“Slow inventory turnover and poor economic figures have affected the channel’s confidence, falling back to major brands with iconic devices to generate traffic,” said Canalys analyst Toby Zhu. “Managing the gloomiest Q4 outlook in over a decade will show which vendors are well positioned for the long-term.”