Both Apple and Samsung continued to occupy the top positions in the global smartphone market in the second quarter of 2017. The other four positions are occupied by local Chinese OEMs Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi. The latest numbers are coming from market research company Canalys.
The South Korean has emerged as the winner, with shipments of over 79 million units in the quarter. Although its year over year growth has been relatively flat something that tells us a lot about the company’s performance in the coming quarters. Earlier this year, in March, Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the market. The Android-powered flagship smartphones were seen as the biggest threat to Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
“Shipments of the S8 have been strong in some regions, but there are signs that demand has been overestimated,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Coulling. “Canalys’ channels research has revealed inventory buildup in Europe, which when combined with discounting in the US, indicates Samsung may be testing the limits of Android smartphone pricing.”
Apple recently reported its fiscal third quarter 2017 earnings, nothing that it sold 40.7 million iPhones. Canalys’ latest data confirms that Apple held the second position by shipping 41 million iPhones, with an annual growth of 2 per cent. That was despite the fact that Apple iPhone sales always tend to slow down during this timeframe as consumers start looking forward to the next-generation model. iPhone 8, the company’s upcoming smartphone, will be launched later this year. The smartphone is said to feature an all-new design, dual cameras, wireless charging, and 3D face recognition features. Apple is also expected to launch the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, alongside the iPhone 8.
“As Apple looks to refresh the iPhone, even with its unique user experience, it too must justify any significant price increases with tangible improvements to both feature set and design”, he said.
Huawei, in comparison, shipped 38 million smartphones in the quarter, accounting for a 20 per cent growth year over year. Oppo and Xiaomi were the biggest gainers occupying fourth and fifth positions, and growing shipments of 44 per cent and 52 per cent respectively. Last month, the market research firm reported that Xiaomi was the second most popular smartphone vendor in India, next to Samsung. Meanwhile, Oppo held the fourth position, thanks to the popularity of the brand among tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
Over 340 million smartphones shipped in Q2 2017, an increase of almost 4 per cent year on year. Although the report noted that both Indian and Chinese smartphone markets were down in the second quarter of 2017.
However, Gartner data for Q1 showed that both Apple and Samsung lost market share in the first quarter of the year as Chinese brands continued to increase their sales.
iPhone sales actually grew very marginally year-on-year, but the market as a whole grew 9% in the same period, resulting in the decrease in market share. Apple saw its global share fall from 14.8% to 13.7%, but market leader Samsung was hit harder.
Oppo saw the largest percentage gain, growing from 4.6% to 8.1%. Other winners were Vivo (4% to 6.8%) and Huawei (8.3% to 9%).
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.
While Chinese brands sell most phones in their home market, they are also starting to do well in other emerging markets, says Gartner.
The top three Chinese smartphone manufacturers are driving sales with their competitively priced, high quality smartphones equipped with innovative features. 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.
Apple is fighting back with a new ad campaign aimed squarely at Android users. The campaign partly tries to persuade Android users that iPhone is a more capable device, but is mostly geared to showing how easy it is to make the switch.