2018 review and 2019 outlook: Global Handset Brands Face Challenges

Global handset brands will face a number of hardships in 2019, with external factors likely to affect their performance including a high maturity of handset products, high market penetration rates, and a slowdown of buying dynamics in emerging markets.

The development of the handset industry itself will also produce some bottlenecks, such as China players’ growing presence in the global space, less product differentiation, and a possible delay of replacement demand prior to the arrival of the 5G era in 2020.

China’s handset vendors are expected to gear up efforts to further ramp up their share in overseas markets due to a growing saturation on the domestic front. It remains to be seen whether the top-three China vendors – Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo – will be able to maintain their shipment momentum in 2019.

But there will be still some bright spots to be seen in the horizon in 2019 given that handsets are currently the largest category of consumer electronics products worldwide, and despite the fact that global handset shipments are likely to stay flat at 1.5 billion units in 2019 as compared to 2018.