Chinese manufacturers drive global smartphone sales: Gartner

Xiaomi smartphone in India and ChinaChinese smartphone manufacturers performed well as 380 million mobile units were sold globally in the first quarter of 2017 — a 9.1 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016, market research firm Gartner said on Tuesday.

The firm also said the shift in buyer preference is positively affecting Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo in their strategy to build desirable features at affordable prices.

“The top three Chinese smartphone manufacturers are driving sales with their competitively priced, high quality smartphones equipped with innovative features,” Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

Their combined market share in the first quarter of 2017 accounted for 24 percent, up seven percentage points year on year.

“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,” Gupta added.

Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

“Although Samsung announced that pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are up 30 percent year-over-year, the absence of an alternative to Note 7 and the fierce competition in the basic smartphone segment are leading Samsung to continuously lose market share,” Gupta said.

“Sales of iPhones were flat, which led to a drop in market share year over year. Similar to Samsung, Apple is increasingly facing fierce competition from Chinese brands Oppo and Vivo, among others, and its performance in China is under attack,” he noted.

While Huawei edged closer to Apple with smartphone sales amounting to 34 million units in the first quarter of 2017, Oppo is continuing to catch up with Huawei.

“With a 94.6 percent increase in worldwide smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2017, Oppo achieved the best performance of the quarter and retained the top spot in China,” Gartner said.

Vivo sold almost 26 million smartphones and achieved a market share of 6.8 percent, which helped it achieve growth of 84.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android grew its share by two percent.