According to Gartner reports, the global smartphone market grew 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017, on the back of growth of three Chinese manufacturers – Huawei, OPPO and Vivo. Of the 380 million units shipped in Q1, the three Chinese juggernaughts claimed a full 24 per cent of those sales, a growth of 7 per cent year on year.
While that growth is remarkable, Apple and Samsung remain at the top of global market share, though their stranglehold is loosening. Samsung’s 20.7 per cent of the market is down 3.1% down, and Apple’s flat sales have left it at 13.7 per cent (down from 14.8 last year).
There’s some obvious factors at play here, which may mean these results are slightly skewed; the removal of Samsung’s Note 7 from sale likely hurt Samsung’s Q1 shipments (as the Galaxy S8 range didn’t ship until Q2), and the rise of more and more capable budget and mid-range handsets from the likes of the Chinese, Motorola and others have undoubtedly carved out some of the market leader’s share.
Huawei have reported sales of some 34 million units for Q1, giving them just under 10% market share by themselves, putting them in a firm third place in global smartphone rankings.
OPPO is growing rapidly, retaining its number one position in China with huge sales growth in Q1. OPPO’s continued focus on selling via its enormous network of physical stores is helping it lead in China, and their focus on fast charging and camera improvements is improving their lot internationally.
What does this mean for us? Well, Android’s market share is slightly higher at 86.1% of the smartphone market, iOS trails a long way behind at 13.7%, and there’s a tiny sub-percentage of other operating systems with just 820,000 global shipments.
In Australia, we’re already seeing the growing influence of Chinese brands locally, taking on the likes of Samsung and Apple; OPPO phones are increasingly popular, Huawei phones are delivering better quality year on year, and even Motorola – with their new owners Lenovo – is continuing to claw away at the budget and mid-range categories.
Samsung and Apple are showing no signs of going away, and may not ever, but their market shares can only shrink with China taking more and more of it for its rapidly growing brands.