But the overall picture was not good, with global shipments falling 5% year-on-year, to mark the sixth consecutive quarter of falling shipments.
Counterpoint associate director Tarun Pathak said the global smartphone market had shown no sign of recovery in 1Q2019. "The rate of decline increased, particularly in February, due to inventory correction by some brands and the production halt during Chinese New Year," he said.
"Another reason for the decline is lengthening replacement cycles, especially in the premium segment. The replacement rate for iPhones is reaching close to 36 months, while the replacement rate for premium Android devices is closing in at 30 months. This can be attributed to the higher quality of devices, increasing average selling price, and the lack of innovative technology.”
"It is increasingly difficult for Apple to grow ASPs and China remains a declining market for the company," the firm said. "Apple’s services, user experience, and companion products make up for its slow adoption of the newest technologies. The growth potential for premium products may be difficult in upcoming quarters. iPhone XR was the best-selling iPhone during the quarter."
Regarding the growth of Huawei, Counterpoint research analyst Shobhit Srivastava said: “Huawei became the second largest smartphone brand by shipment without a significant presence in an important market like the United States. It was also the fastest growing brand among the top 10.
"At this pace, we expect Huawei to remain ahead of Apple at the end of 2019. What has helped Huawei is the pace of its innovations. It was the first to introduce features like reverse wireless charging, on-board AI, advanced camera, and more. A dual-brand (HONOR) strategy has helped Huawei build a youth connect and gain market share in a sluggish Chinese market.
"Huawei is now a match for Samsung in smartphone hardware. Like Samsung and Apple, Huawei also is becoming increasingly vertically integrated. We believe it is Huawei that Samsung should be worrying about rather than Apple.”