Despite a torrid 2019, which saw Apple relinquish a large share of its market share to Chinese competitors, sales of its flagship iPhone smartphone rallied in the fourth quarter of the year.
A new industry report, published by Gartner, shows that Apple pushed out 69.5 million iPhones in Q4 2019, increasing its market share for the quarter to 17.1 per cent, up from 15.8 per cent on a year on year basis.
Apple spent the first half of 2019 locked in a bitter dispute with chip manufacturer Qualcomm over intellectual property rights, which saw the pair sue each other multiple times in a series of tit-for-tatt law suits around the world. This dispute undoubtedly hampered Apple’s ability to consolidate its market share as it lost ground on Korean rivals Samsung and was relegated to third place in the global standing by the explosive growth of Chinese tech giant, Huawei.
With its dispute with Qualcomm settled and the US government’s pressure on Huawei in late 2019, Apple was able to rally to make up ground on its international rivals.
While the total global smartphone market contracted in 2019, from 1.55 billion units in 2018 to 1.54 billion units in 2019, Apple ended the year strongly, closing the gap on both Samsung and Huawei for full year sales.
Samsung ended the year on 296.1 million units, Huawei 240.6 million units and Apple on 193.5 million units.
With the current Coronavirus outbreak in China spreading across the world, some analysts had speculated that the global smartphone market would contract sharply, as shipments from production facilities in China and South Korea were halted. However,
“Looking forward, while the COVID-19 outbreak will impact smartphone demand negatively in China in the first quarter of 2020, we do not expect a demand contraction in the international smartphone market during that period,“ Anette Zimmermann, senior analyst at Gartner.