Wang Zhao | AFP | Getty Images
A Huawei poster is displayed in a store in Beijing on August 7, 2018.
Samsung and Apple are increasingly losing their share of the smartphone market to China’s Huawei, according to new research, with consumers put off by the high price tags attached to their premium models.
Market data released by tech research firm Gartner Thursday showed Huawei’s share of the smartphone market climbed to almost 15 percent in the three months ended December 2018, up 4 percentage points from the same period a year earlier.
Competitors Samsung and Apple still rank first and second in terms of market share, covering approximately 17 and 16 percent of the industry, respectively.
However, both lost market share in the fourth quarter year-over-year, according to the figures. Apple’s share of the sector dipped 2 percentage points, while Samsung’s fell about 1 percentage point.
“Apple has really been losing ground on a couple of things, especially when it comes to emerging markets like Greater China,” Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, told CNBC in an interview. “What we are seeing in China is that the leading Chinese players have raised the quality of their smartphones significantly.”
Apple sold 64.5 million iPhone units in the fourth quarter 2018, Gartner estimated. That’s down almost 12 percent from the same period in the previous year, marking the worst quarterly year-on-year decline in iPhone shipments since the first quarter of 2016.
The company has said that lagging sales overall are mostly due to its sluggish performance in China. It said in its most recent results that iPhone revenue had fallen 15 percent in the first quarter year-over-year, which CEO Tim Cook said at the time was the result of customers “holding on to their iPhones a bit longer than in the past” and “macroeconomic factors particularly in emerging markets.”