In-display biometrics helps boost Vivo into top 5 smartphone makers

Vivo’s integration of in-display biometric fingerprint scanners and other new features is credited for the company claiming the number five position among the world’s top smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2019, as overall global smartphone sales declined by 2.7 percent, according to Gartner.

U.S. sales declined by 15.8 percent in the quarter, and sales in China fell 3.2 percent. Samsung continued to lead in market share, with 19.2 percent, but Huawei drew closer, growing from 10.5 percent a year ago to 15.7 percent market share in Q1 2019.

“Demand for premium smartphones remained lower than for basic smartphones, which affected brands such as Samsung and Apple that have significant stakes in high-end smartphones,” says Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

Replacement cycles continued to lengthen, which Gartner blames on slowing innovation and higher prices. Both Samsung and Apple recorded lower sales than a year ago, though Samsung Galaxy S10 started shipping late in the quarter. Huawei could be affected by apprehension among buyers about potential unavailability of Google apps and services, even if a block is not implemented.

Vivo sold 27.4 million smartphones during the quarter to edge out Xiaomi, which sold 27.2 million, for fifth.

“However, the company could do much better by expanding its range of its entry-tier smartphones and selling them in emerging Asia/Pacific markets,” Gupta says of Vivo.

A changing market with the introduction of in-display fingerprint technology and price pressures on traditional capacitive sensors has led some sensor makers, such as IDEX, to shift focus away from the smartphone market. Reports also suggest that in-display biometrics may soon become common in mid-range devices, due to falling component prices.

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