The global premium smartphone market has collapsed 8% in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 as Apple shipments plummeted 20%, a report by Counterpoint Research said on Wednesday. According to Counterpoint Research's 'Market Monitor Service' report, during the quarter, Samsung ended up with one-fourth of the global premium segment - which is the company's highest ever share over the past year.
This was also the first time that Samsung launched three devices instead of the usual two in its S series, thus covering wider price points.
China's technology giant Huawei also captured a double-digit share in the highly-concentrated premium market. Impeccable camera quality, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and superior build quality of its flagship mate and P series drove the growth for Huawei during the quarter.
"The trend of users holding onto their iPhones for longer has affected Apple's shipments. The replacement cycle for iPhones has grown to over three years, on an average, from two years. On the other hand, substantial design changes in the Galaxy S10 series and the better value proposition it offers compared to high-end iPhones helped Samsung close the gap to Apple," Varun Mishra, Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research said in a statement.
Huawei even surpassed Apple to become the top player in the premium smartphone market in China - a market where the iPhone maker has been struggling.
"The sluggishness of the Chinese market was the other key reason for the decline in the global premium segment," Mishra added.
Our estimates suggest that almost half of the decline in the global premium segment in Q1 2019 was due to the sluggish Chinese market.
"However, we expect that as 5G begins to commercialize in the future, the premium segment will grow. In 2019 and 2020, all the 5G devices are expected to launch in the premium segment," noted Mishra.