IDC analysts said the global smartphone market is “not dead”, as preliminary figures for Q1 showed better-than-expected global shipment growth.
The research company noted shipments in the opening three months of 2017 bucked an apparent trend of slowing gains, following what Ryan Reith, VP of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers programme, called a “pivotal year” in 2016 when “growth dipped to low single digits for the first time”.
IDC said its initial Q1 2017 analysis shows consumer demand for smartphones remains strong, with flagship “hype” as strong as ever.
“The first quarter smartphone results further prove that the smartphone industry is not dead and that growth still exists,” Reith said, adding the figures back an IDC prediction of further growth through 2017.
Total global shipments in Q1 of 347.4 million units were 4.3 per cent higher than the same period in 2016. IDC previously forecast year-on-year growth of 3.6 per cent.
While Reith noted flagship device announcements including Huawei’s P10 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 (pictured) show innovation in the smartphone sector is still possible, IDC said Q1 shipments growth was mostly fueled by Chinese OEMs including Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, each of which maintained a trend of outpacing overall market growth.
Research manager Anthony Scarsella explained IDC expects the majority of growth through the rest of 2017 to “come from more affordable models in a variety of markets”.
“Despite all the popularity and media hype around premium devices, we continue to witness a shift in many companies’ portfolios geared towards affordable devices with premium-type styling compared to flagship models,” he added.
Apple’s shipments of 51.6 million units were also broadly flat year-on-year, while Huawei increased shipments 21.7 per cent to 34.2 million units.