The global smartphone market is one of the most lucrative and competitive businesses in the global electronics industry and it’s expecting another consistent year for growth. The latest figures show that the global smartphone market expanded by 9.1% in the first quarter of this year, while a total of 380 million smartphones were shipped worldwide from January to March 2017, an increase of 4.3% from 348.2 million units during the same period last year, reported by a recent report from Gartner.
Global smartphone shipments growth
When it comes to annual figures, according to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to rebound in 2017 with a higher growth rate of 3.0% over the previous year. In 2016, year-over-year growth was 2.5%, marking the lowest growth the industry has ever experienced. With several major devices entering the market this year, total global smartphone shipments are likely to reach 1.52 billion in 2017, and this momentum of growth will be continued through 2018, when smartphone shipments are forecasted to grow 4.5% year-on-year, mainly driven by improved economic conditions in many emerging markets and increasing numbers of new products launched in the global market.
Currently, Samsung and Apple are still the two largest smartphone companies that are dominating the global smartphone market. Gartner reports that Samsung was the world’s top smartphone maker with a 23% market share in the first quarter of 2017, although its shipments fell 2.5 million from the same quarter of 2016 to 78.7 million in the first three months of 2017. Apple‘s total smartphone shipments were up during the period, reaching 52 million. However, its market share shrank from 14.8% to 13.7% by early 2017
Chinese smartphone brands on the rise
Over the recent years, the two smartphone giants Samsung and Apple have experienced an increasing pressure from several leading Chinese smartphone makers, namely Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, which ranked among world’s top five largest smartphone manufacturers, all saw double-digit growth year-on-year, collectively carving out almost a quarter of global sales.
Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone company, its shipments grew from 28.9 million in the first quarter last year to 34.2 million in the same period of 2017 while the company’s market share rose from 8.3% to 9%. It’s Chinese rival Oppo doubled its global market share to 8.4% in the Q1 of 2017, while another Chinese smartphone brand Vivo also increased its share to 6.8% up from 4% in Q1 last year.
“The top three Chinese smartphone manufacturers are driving sales with their competitively priced, high-quality smartphones equipped with innovative features,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. “Furthermore, aggressive marketing and sales promotion have further helped these brands to take share from other brands in markets such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand.”
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