Apple's free fall in smartphone market, IDC chart shows

Katie Ramirez
May 3, 2018

Apple iPhone shipments have grown year-on-year in three of the past 4 quarters.

Sequentially, Samsung shipments grew 5 percent with the launch of its latest flagship, the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Xiaomi is expanding like wildfire across Asia, particularly in India.

Smartphone penetration slid to 76% of all mobile phones shipped in the first quarter, partly due to an upsurge in demand of feature phones by key manufacturers like Nokia HMD. Of the top five (Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo), three shipped more units: Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi. Apple's ultra-premium iPhone X is proving relatively popular in some markets like China and the United States, while there remains scope for additional expansion in emerging regions such as India and Africa.

"Looking forward, more affordable premium devices might be the solution the market needs in the second half of the year to drive shipments back in a positive direction", Scarsella continued.

Xiaomi shipped 27 million smartphones, capturing 8 percent market share of the global smartphone market in Q1 2018. Samsung share declines slightly on a year ago from 35.1% to 34.4%, although experiences a strong uplift on share from the previous Q4 17 period (where Apple share peaked at 46%) with the Galaxy S8 the top-selling smartphone with a share of 11%. In urban China, iPhone X continues to be not only Apple's top performing model but the best-selling model in the market, helping Apple share to increase strongly to 22.1%.

Notably, Huawei shipments grew 14% YoY in Q1 2018 even though growth in China slowed considerably. In its commitment to the "Make in India" campaign, Xiaomi also recently announced PCB assembly in India, becoming the second vendor after Samsung to do so.

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However a heavy police presence remains at the scene, including the bomb squad which was called in to investigate the package. Meanwhile, Uber cashed in on desperate commuters looking for another way to work, with surge pricing coming into effect.

When it comes to the individual devices that contributed to a healthy premium smartphone market in Q1,2018, The OnePlus 5T had a 25% market share followed by Galaxy S9+ at 17% and Galaxy s9 at 12%. Xiaomi surpassed OPPO to become the fourth largest smartphone brand in Q1 2018.

Meanwhile, over in the USA, Kantar tells us that "Apple and Samsung have managed to eke out year-on-year share gains, up 0.1% and 1.4% respectively".

OPPO, which held the fifth position with its year-over-year decline of 7.5 percent, has also pruned some of its retail partnerships to focus on those with higher contribution to sales. The aggressive expansion of these brands in markets outside mainland China will be the key to growth as the home market reaches saturation levels in 2018.

Lenovo (including Motorola) captured the 8th spot with a market share of 2 percent. As a result, smartphones sold by the two brands internationally were mainly from their low-end lineups, which impacts overall profitability. The Lenovo brand declined in India and in rest of APAC, while Motorola continued to do well in LATAM and United States smartphone markets.

ZTE's growth continues to struggle as the U.S. component ban came as an added disadvantage which has led to declining market share. The US component ban from the US government will take a toll on the company's smartphone shipments in the coming quarters. In these markets, the Lite versions continue to be the company's bestselling devices, but the P10 and the Mate 10 range are in a much better position compared to predecessors P9 and Mate 9.

iTel's strategy of concentrating on the emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia is paying off as smartphone shipments grew over 200 percent in Q1 2018. The company had managed to ship 80.2 million units of smartphones over the same period a year ago.

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