May 26, 2018

SA: Xiaomi now the 4th largest smartphone maker globally

03 May 2018, 02:09 | Francis Delgado

Samsung is still top dog but Apple gained ground. Marta Franco CNET

Samsung is still top dog but Apple gained ground.                  Marta Franco  CNET

According to Counterpoint's Market Monitor service, global smartphone shipments declined 3 per cent annually in the first quarter of 2018.

The smartphone is still the main hub of the Internet of Things and the market may be approaching somewhat of a saturation point. Either way, super premium devices like those in Huawei's Porsche Design series and the few already highlighted above, end up being devices that users either shun or don't buy repeatedly.

China has been the hotbed for smartphone manufacturers, it has been the home ground for players like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Lenovo. The efforts have been realized as the performance of Chinese brands in MEA, Europe and the rest of the Asian markets has been strong. "The North America market has been problematic for Chinese brands and the ban on ZTE will further decline their share in the region".

Smartphone shipments in China fell below 100 million in the first quarter of this year, the first time since Q3 2013, a report showed. Both saw a decline in the quarter as a result of the China market slowdown.

"Xiaomi continues its retail expansion in India and Southeast Asia; however online channels remain the key contributor in India, its second largest market", the IDC report noted.

One of the reasons for the decline in shipments is that people are holding on to the phones they own, for longer.

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Indian phone makers such as Karbonn, Micromax, Lava International and Reliance Jio did not find a space in the top 10 list of smartphone suppliers. If the order stands, it will influence ZTE's smartphone business globally - affecting the company's ability to source critical components from the likes of Qualcomm and Google, among other U.S. technology providers.

Apple sits on the second spot with 52.2 million units.

OEM performance insights * Samsung led the smartphone market by volume with a market share of 22 percent in Q1 2018.

Apple had surpassed Samsung during the holiday shopping season, but the Korean company came back in Q1 with the launch of the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Oppo and Vivo now hold the market share of 6.1% and 5.4%, respectively. It shipped 27 million smartphones, capturing 8% market share of the global smartphone market in Q1 2018. Despite rumors of an underperforming iPhone X in the quarter, Apple stated that the iPhone X was the most popular model each week in the March quarter.

Huawei shipments grew 14 percent YoY in Q1 2018 even though growth in China slowed down considerably. The company growth has been driven by strong sales in India (+134%) and China (+51%).

For Xiaomi, the Q1 2018 brings some good news as the brand due to its strong growth of 87.8 percent year-over-year. As a result, smartphones sold by the two brands internationally were mainly from their low-end lineups, which impacts overall profitability. Last year, however, the trends were different and the overall growth of the Chinese brands like Oppo and Vivo was stunted. But shipments of iPhone X, its new flagship model, declined severely.

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