Apple maintains the lead in the global premium smartphone segment despite losing out its second major smartphone maker position to Huawei in 2018. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker now accounts for 51 percent of all smartphones sold in the premium segment. The percentage share is down from 58 percent held in 2017 but the company still commands value despite increased price of newer models like the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. According to Counterpoint Research, the segment grew faster than the global smartphone market during the year and OnePlus entered the top five brands in the premium segment for the first time ever.
The global premium smartphone segment grew 14 percent year-on-year in terms of sell-in and 18 percent year-on-year in terms of sell-through last year. Counterpoint Research says that the growth was driven by launch of new iPhones and premium devices from Chinese OEMs like Huawei, OnePlus and Oppo. Apple with 51 percent market share has a significant lead over second-place Samsung which has a market share of 22 percent in the global premium smartphone segment. However, the Chinese smartphone makers made their mark in the segment by reaching double digit market share for the first time.
According to Counterpoint Research, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei reached 10 percent market share in the global premium smartphone segment, a growth of 2 percent from the previous year. Oppo grew 863 percent to achieve a market share of 6 percent while OnePlus reached 2 percent market share in the segment. Xiaomi also saw 149 percent growth in the premium smartphone segment during the calendar year. The top five players account for 90 percent of total shipments but there are close to 40 OEMs competing in the premium segment globally.
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Huawei’s performance was led by the success of P20 and Mate 20 series. Oppo saw strong growth in its home market of China with demand for R15 and R17 series. OnePlus’ performance was driven by OnePlus 6T and it recorded its highest ever shipments in a single quarter during fourth quarter in India to lead the premium segment for three successive quarters. Google, meanwhile, entered the top five premium smartphone brands in Western Europe in 2018.
Among regions, APAC was the fastest growing region for the premium segment with a growth of 27 percent year-on-year. China and US contributed to more than half of the global premium market shipments. “China’s premium segment grew 37 percent YoY while the US grew 10 percent YoY. Other countries where the premium segment grew fast include Indonesia (+54 percent), Russia (+28 percent), Canada (22 percent), Mexico (22 percent), Thailand (+20 percent), India (+14 percent), Brazil (13 percent), and Japan (10 percent),” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research, said in a blog post.