The latest report from data and analytics firm Counterpoint Research on the global smartphone market has some interesting findings, the biggest of which is the decline of global smartphone shipments in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017. Shipments have reduced from 371 million units to 360 million units in the first quarter of this year, representing a decline of about 3 percent. Traditional global leader Samsung too has seen a decline of 3 percent, dropping from 80 million units to 78 million units. However, Samsung retains its leadership over the segment.
Among the top brands, only four manufacturers have seen an increase in shipments in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017. Apple, Xiaomi and Huawei have all seen an increase in smartphone shipments, with Xiaomi recording an impressive 101 percent YoY growth on catapult itself to the number four position globally. Huawei (which includes the Honor sub-brand) has also seen decent growth to retain third position. Transsion Holdings subsidiary itel, which wasn’t in the top ten last year, has recorded 213 percent growth to break into the top list with 4.6 million shipments.
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Various key players have seen decline in overall shipments are market share, despite retaining their positions in the top 10. Oppo, Vivo, LG and Lenovo-Motorola have seen significant reductions, while Chinese smartphone brand ZTE has seen a huge drop of 46 percent on the back of reducing market share and sanctions in the US.
Speaking the declining smartphone growth, Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research said, The waning smartphone demand is due to a slow-down in developed markets where replacement cycles are lengthening with overall smartphone features and design reaching its peak. However, emerging markets still offer a sizeable opportunity for OEMs to expand and grow as smartphone penetration by users in still around 45 percent. The average selling price of smartphones is increasing, too, in emerging markets with users upgrading from entry level to the mid smartphone segment. Hence, we expect OEMs to accelerate their go-to-market strategy and expansion in parts of Africa and rest of the APAC region to capture the growing demand in CY 2018.
Apple’s growth came on the back of strong sales of the Apple iPhone X, while Xiaomi’s growth was a result of exceptional performance in India and China, its two key markets. While itel itself broke into the top ten for the first time, the brand’s parent company Transsion Holdings also controls the Tecno and Infinix brands. Together, the three brands shipped over 10 million units in the quarter, outnumbering Lenovo-Motorola and ZTE. Meanwhile, Huawei’s growth comes on the back of strong growth in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India, where it broke into the top five for the first time in the current quarter thanks to its Honor sub-brand.