Maybe 2016 won't be such a bleak year for smartphone vendors after all.
The worldwide smartphone market rebounded modestly in the second quarter, according to fresh data from Canalys, showing growth after a disappointing first quarter. More than 330 million smartphones were shipped during the period, flat sequentially but up slightly from the same period a year ago.
Samsung led all vendors with roughly 80 million units shipped, Canalys said, while Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) 40 million units shipped marked a second consecutive annual decline for the iPhone vendor. Indeed, Samsung has enjoyed tremendous success with its Galaxy S7 thanks to heavy carrier promotional support and Samsung's campaign to give its Gear VR headset to Galaxy buyers.
But Apple hasn't seen as much success with its latest phone, Canalys said.
"The launch of the iPhone SE has done little to improve Apple's fortunes," Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi said in prepared remarks. "Shipments in intended growth markets such as China and India saw little improvement as the price of the device kept it out of reach of the mass market, which typically sees strong shipments. Consumers instead opted for local vendors, whose build quality and specifications are a better value alternative."
Huawei rounded out the top three smartphone vendors in the second quarter, Canalys said, shipping 31 million devices. The vendor has made huge strides in recent years, shipping 100 million phones last year as many of its rivals in China lost substantial ground.
Huawei said this week it's likely to ship 140 million phones this year, but Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling said the company will likely have to grow its presence in the U.S. if it hopes to exceed that figure. The company maintains it has no plans to introduce its handsets to the U.S. in any meaningful way, but if it could somehow score a major American carrier partner, it could close the gap with its bigger rivals in a big way.
"Huawei has had an excellent start to 2016, with its leadership positon in China helping the global picture," said Coulling. "Despite this strong start, it will need to continue breaking shipment records and improve its position in the US if it is to surpass its annual shipment target of 140 million units."
- see this Canalys press release
Huawei hopes to ship 140M smartphones this year despite market challenges
Huawei aims to topple Samsung and Apple to become No. 1 smartphone vendor worldwide
Kantar: 'Apple versus Samsung is so over'
Samsung overtakes Apple in U.S. smartphone market on the strength of Galaxy S7
Samsung thrives as LG and Sony founder in brutal Q1 in global smartphone market