As we prepare for IFA 2019 happening in Berlin next week, where a number of new mobile devices will be unveiled, it’s worthwhile taking a look at the recent findings for smartphone sales courtesy of research firm Gartner.

Much like the first quarter of the year, Q2 2019 has not proved much better for smartphone sales in general, with numbers declining by 1.7 percent as 368 million units were shipped in that time according to Gartner.

Demand for high-end smartphones has slowed at a greater rate than demand for midrange and low-end smartphones,” says Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

“To try to boost smartphone replacements, we’ve seen manufacturers bringing premium features such as multilens front/back cameras, bezel-less displays and large batteries from their flagship smartphones into lower-priced models,” adds Gupta.

For most manufacturers Q2 proved tough, but two were able to weather the storm and come out relatively strong – Samsung and Huawei. The South Korean firm saw an annual sales increase in this quarter of 3.8 percent, with Huawei performing even better at 16.5 percent.

“As a result, they both grew market share in the quarter, which led them to account for more than a third of total smartphone sales globally,” explains Gupta. It also sees both forms cement their positions of first and second respectively, with Apple rounding up the top three spots for vendors.

Huawei’s numbers are perhaps the most impressive here though, especially as it was predicted that the firm’s ongoing struggles with the United States would create massive uncertainty, and ultimately led to a significant drop in sales.

As it turns out, that has not been the case.

“The Huawei ban announcement led to a sharp decline in Huawei’s smartphone sales in the global market in the second quarter of 2019, although sales did improve slightly on the ban’s deferment. While its smartphone sales total was weaker globally, strong promotion and brand positioning helped Huawei sell a record number of smartphones in Greater China in the quarter, growing 31% in the region,” Gartner’s latest report points out.

It looks like the biggest loser in all this has been Apple, with Gupta highlighting that a lack of improvement between iterations has seen the company sell roughly 38 million iPhones, which represents a 13.8 percent decline year-on-year.

“Too few incremental benefits are preventing existing iPhone users from replacing their smartphones,” says Gupta.

“Apple has reached an inflection point marked by shifting its business toward services, which represented 21% of the vendor’s total revenue in the first quarter of 2019,” he concludes.

With Samsung having recently unveiled its Galaxy Note, along with Huawei and Apple expected to debut new flagship hardware in September, it should be interesting to see how the top three shapes up in Q3 and Q4 of 2019. Also whether the continued decline in smartphone sales becomes more positive.