Apple and Samsung Stumble as Smartphone Market Soars

Lena Tucker
May 24, 2017

Gartner's sales report for the first quarter of 2017 also shows that while Samsung and Apple remain the world's first- and second-largest smartphone brands, respectively, three Chinese phone makers are gaining ground.

The combined market of Chinese device manufacturers such as Oppo, Vivo and Huawei increased 7% year-on -year to reach 24% in the first quarter of 2017.

Fifth placed Vivo sold close to 26 million smartphones in the quarter, grabbing 6.8 per cent marketshare, with growth of 84.6 per cent. Gartner says it's seeing growth from emerging markets in Asia/Pacific, including India, where Vivo's sales grew more than 220 per cent. Although preorders for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are up by 30 percent year over year, the absence of an alternative to the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 is one of the major reasons Samsung is losing market share, TechCrunch reported.

"Sales of iPhones were flat which led to a drop in market share year on year".

The worldwide smartphone market grew 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017 according to Gartner, an American technology research company.

Oppo, which is quickly catching up to Huawei, saw a 94.6 percent increase in worldwide smartphone sales in Q1 2017.

It had sales of 51.9 million but market share fell from 14.8 percent to 13.7 percent. Although Samsung and Apple are primarily discussed in the United States, the growth of this market is actually being driven by three Chinese manufacturers.

The Chinese manufacturers are driving sales with aggressive marketing and competitively priced smartphones that are increasingly equipped with innovative features, taking advantage of the fact buyers are spending more to get a better device, pushing up the average selling prices of certain mobile phone types. Global smartphones sales totaled 380 million units in the first quarter of 2017.

Among them Huawei is leading with 9% market share.

Gartner says Oppo's strategy, which is centred around the camera, fast chargin and offline retail, is reaping benefits for the vendor, which garnered 8.1% market share in Q1 - and some 31 million shipments - up from 4.6% share for the same period in 2016. Gartner said the decline was due in part to "fierce competition" in lower-end smartphones. Moreover, with Google's announcement of Android Go - targeted at the entry-level smartphone market - the OS is heading for continued growth (see Table 2).

Other operating systems are nearly non-existent, with a market share of 0.2 percent and sales of only 821,000.

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