Smartphone Shipments Decline, Samsung Stays In Lead

Steve Phelps
May 3, 2018

"The ideal smartphone market for Chinese brands are the emerging smartphone markets such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Middle East and Africa, where LTE is being launched for the first time or the network is expanding to more covered geographies". At the same time, the Chinese smartphone manufacturers have also seen a sharp decline in the North American region.

The smartphone vendors shipped 336.1 million units during the first quarter of 2018 - a 2.4 per cent decline when compared to the 344.4 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2017, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said on Wednesday.

Even though Huawei's high-end smartphones haven't been the dearest on the market hence the increase in their popularity in China, buyers still preferred its cheaper mid-range devices like the lite versions of popular high-end models in markets where it is increasingly becoming a popular alternative to pricey offerings from Apple and Samsung like Western Europe. Oppo stood at the fifth spot, recording year-over-year decline of 7.5%.

China's market has slowed down and that has adversely affected the performance of Chinese OEMs in the home market.

"Xiaomi continues its retail expansion in India and Southeast Asia; however online channels remain the key contributor in India, its second largest market", the IDC report noted.

Trade war or no trade war?
The EU has threatened to retaliate with duties on iconic American goods such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon. The U.S. refused to offer the European Union compensation and said the request for consultations had no basis under WTO rules.

Tech observers said Samsung may also outpace Apple in the second quarter, as the United States tech giant normally posts weaker earnings in the April-June period.

One of the key reasons for the drop in smartphone shipments is due to the fact that people not willing to buy expensive mobile phones. Vivo, LG, Motorola/Lenovo, ZTE and TCL-Alcatel are the next five smartphone vendors in the top 10 list. If the order stands, it will influence ZTE's smartphone business globally - affecting the company's ability to source critical components from the likes of Qualcomm and Google, among other U.S. technology providers. Together, the three smartphone brands of Transsion holdings (Tecno, iTel and Infinix) accounted for over 10 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2018.

Though, Samsung grabbed 23.4 percent market share it experienced a decline of 2.4 percent.

Samsung's shipment grew 5% QoQ with the launch of its latest flagship, Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. China remains a struggle for Samsung in Q1 2018 as shipments declined over 50 percent in Q1 2018. Oppo and Vivo now hold the market share of 6.1% and 5.4%, respectively. Samsung shipped 78 million units of smartphones, with a market share of 21.7%. ASP's fell compared to the previous quarter due to the greater mix of iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and older iPhones during the quarter.

Apple has also released healthy Q1 sales figures, but it now stocks nine iPhone models and sells more older handsets than ever before, something which could impact its balance sheet in the future. Huawei has managed to significantly increase its presence across the big five European markets and it now holds nearly a fifth of sales in the three months to March 2018 - 19.0%, up from 14.4% a year earlier.

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