Apple overtakes Samsung, OPPO drops in global smartphone market

Apple smartphone share in Q4 2017Apple has overtaken Samsung to regain the global smartphone market lead in Q4 2017, said analyst firm IDC.

Apple iPhone volumes reached 77.3 million (–1.3 percent) in Q4 and 215.8 million units (+0.2 percent) in 2017.

Apple overtook Samsung in the smartphone market, largely because of iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Though demand for the new higher priced iPhone X may not have been as strong, the overall iPhone lineup appealed to a wider range of consumers in both emerging and developed markets.

Samsung remained the leader in the smartphone market for 2017 despite losing out to Apple in the fourth quarter. Samsung shipped 74.1 million units (–4.4 percent) in Q4 and 317.3 million (+1.9 percent) in 2016.
Smartphone market share of Samsung Q4 2017
The arrival of the Galaxy S9 may represent Samsung’s best chance of winning over both new and current customers in 2018.

Huawei shipped 41 million units (–9.7 percent) in Q4 and 153.1 million (+9.9 percent) in 2017. The Honor smartphone brand helped Huawei to push sales both inside and outside of China. The Mate series and Honor sub-brand drove volume in numerous markets, while the Y series was the star at the low-end.

Huawei, a China-based company, faced major setback in the U.S. market as operators AT&T and Verizon recently decided against selling Huawei smartphones to their wireless customers due to security issues.

Xiaomi doubled its share to 7 percent from 3.3 percent as it received huge demand in China, India and Russia.

OPPO dropped one place to the 5th position as it shipped 27.4 million units (+ percent in Q4 and 111.8 million smartphones (+12 percent). OPPO faced slight decline in India as it made some changes to its channel strategy by being more selective about its retail partners.

IDC said the global smartphone market size was 403.5 million units (–6.3 percent) during the fourth quarter of 2017 and 1.472 billion units (–1 percent) in 2017.

According to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments reached 400 million units (–9 percent) in Q4 2017 and 1.5 billion units (+1 percent) in 2017.

Developed markets such as China and the United States both witnessed a decline during the quarter as consumers appeared to be in no rush to upgrade to the newest generation of higher-priced flagship devices, said IDC.

“The latest flock of posh flagships may have had consumers hitting the pause button in the holiday quarter,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC.

Smartphone brands outside the top 5 struggled to maintain momentum as value brands such as Honor, Vivo, Xiaomi, and OPPO offered competition at the low end, and brands like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei maintained their stronghold on the high end.

Apple captured first place with 19 percent global market share, nudging Samsung into second position, and Xiaomi soared to fifth, according to Strategy Analytics.

Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics, said: “The drop in smartphone shipments was due to a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16 percent annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of wow models.”

Baburajan K