Global smartphone shipments declined 2 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of 2018, as the industry felt the impact of longer replacement cycles, falling operator subsidies and a lack of hardware innovation, Strategy Analytics said.
In its latest market report, analysts said 345 million units were shipped globally in Q1 2018, down from 354 million in the same period of 2017.
Samsung led the market with a 22.6 per cent share, broadly flat on Q1 2017 when the company also led global shipments. Apple briefly overtook the South Korea vendor at the head of the market during Q4 2017, a period which included the release of the iPhone X in November and full impact of the iPhone 8 launch in late September. In contrast, Samsung’s flagships are usually launched in late Q1.
Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said Samsung was “holding steady in its core markets of North America, Western Europe and South Korea,” but faced “intense competitive pressure in China and India.”
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Apple was the second largest vendor by shipments in Q1 2018, with a share of 15.1 per cent, slightly up on its Q1 2017 figure. Third-placed Huawei and fourth-placed Xiaomi both drastically increased their share at the expense of the fifth largest vendor, Oppo, and companies filed under “other” – those with a share smaller than 7 per cent. This segment comprises the likes of Sony, LG, Lenovo, ZTE and HTC.
Huawei’s share stood at 11.4 per cent in Q1 2018, up from 9.8 per cent, while Xiaomi increased its share from 3.6 per cent to 8.2 per cent. Oppo’s figure decreased from 7.8 per cent to 7 per cent, while the remainder declined from a combined 41.7 per cent of shipments in Q1 2017 to 35.7 per cent in the recent quarter.
Strategy Analytics said Huawei had grown strongly across every region except North America – where the China-based vendor faced continued political opposition.
Director Linda Sui added Xiaomi had “outperformed” rivals and enjoyed rapid retail expansion: “Xiaomi is expanding like wildfire across Asia, particularly in India,” she noted.