Which mobile phone you choose for yourself, or for your team at work, is a question many will agonise over. Is it function over form or does the impression you give when you pull out the latest model offset the cost of going for something new and shiny over something a little more ‘sensible’ in the range? And how long are you committing yourself to – shackling your company to a far too lengthy contract (or at least it may feel that way if your phone choice turns out to be more ‘lemon regret’ than ‘geek chic’).

To ensure that you make an informed choice with your next phone purchase we’ve created this article to look at the latest report from the IDC (that’s the International Data Corporation, a market intelligence company specialising in the technology and telecoms sectors) on the world of smartphones. How smart will your selection be?

The IDC’s quarterly report ranks the world’s leading smartphone brands, giving us a glimpse into how all the top companies have performed. While Apple (arguably) completely transformed our perceptions of what a mobile phone should do, they’re not leading the way in terms of smartphone sales anymore. In fact, they’re not even in the top two. With Samsung coming in first and Huawei in second, this is the first time in seven years that Apple and Samsung haven’t sat side by side in these charts.


The South Korean consumer electronics giant may top the charts and boast 20.9% of the market share, but Samsung’s sales are falling. This is likely to be down to an increase in high-end competition and a slow smartphone market – the second quarter of 2018 saw smartphone makers shipping 6.2 million fewer units than in the same quarter of 2017. But can Samsung turn this around? The company, of course, hopes to retain its number one spot and increase sales through the new S10, and the launch of Galaxy Note 9, so watch this space.


Their biggest competition, it would seem, is Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which has experienced growth of 40.9% over the last year, taking their market share to an impressive 15.8%. The company’s reputation has been helped by its GPU Turbo technology, which removes a lot of the lag that you can get with some Android phones, making it more responsive and able to process commands quicker. For many people, Huawei has become synonymous with great quality photography, and it’s the company’s Honor models, with their super-sharp cameras, which seem to be driving the manufacturer’s growth.


So how can Apple compete with that? Although they have performed well in the premium market, with the iPhone X being an impressive bestseller, Apple has experienced just 0.7% growth in the past year. Though retaining its 12.1% worldwide market share in the second quarter, it has been toppled from its prime position. But it may just turn this around, climb back up there and take control of the market with the launch of three new generations of iPhone models this autumn.

The runners up

In fourth and fifth place we find two more smartphone makers that are worth keeping an eye on. Xiaomi is fourth in the IDC’s rankings, but outsells Samsung in India. Its global market share of 9.3% is also not to be sniffed at, shipping 31.9 million units globally in the second quarter. Oppo comes in at number five and has increased its sales by 5.1% in the last year through expanding into markets such as Africa and the Middle East. The company’s newest phone, the recently launched Oppo Find X, has helped to build the brand’s good reputation, and it has shipped a total of 29.4 million devices around the world.

Consumer behaviour has a huge part to play in the level of smartphone sales, with many of us expecting our phones to serve us well in the future without having to upgrade as often as we might have in the past. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see just what the top charts spots look like this time next year.

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