Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi gain while global smartphone market declines

10 smartphone vendors in Q1 2018

The report adds that the smartphone industry has seen a decline of 2.8 percent as the vendors shipped a total of 334.3 million units during the first quarter of 2018, which is quite low as compared to the 344.4 million units shipped in the Q1 2017.

Analysts parsed the number to give their explanations for the overall decline in the global smartphone market.

"However, emerging markets still offer a sizeable opportunity for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to expand and grow as smartphone penetration by users in still around 45%".

The company has successfully marketed its mid-range smartphones at affordable prices.

The remaining companies in the top five are all from China, indicating how strong this country's smartphone market has become.

"The efforts have been realized as the performance of Chinese brands in Middle-East/Africa, Europe and the rest of the Asian markets has been strong". Outside of the new flagships, the A series and J series continued to drive most of the key volume in both developed and emerging markets. 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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HMD Global (Nokia), iTEL, Xiaomi, Tecno, OnePlus and Huawei were the brands that grew the fastest in Q1 2018.

Apple's first quarter saw the iPhone maker move 52.2 million iPhones representing a modest 2.8% year-over-year increase from the 50.8 million units shipped last year. The company reported strong sales in India and China with a growth of 51% and 134% respectively.

"In the United States of America and the European top five markets, iPhone 8 sold in marginally higher numbers than the flagship iPhone X, indicating that as early iPhone X demand is fulfilled the price difference between the two devices is playing a notable role in consumers' choices". While the market leaders remained the same as the previous year, Xiaomi has now secured the fourth position for two consecutive quarters - pushing Oppo and Vivo to fifth and sixth position in the unit shipment ranking. On the contrary, brands like Samsung, OPPO and Vivo reported declines in Q1 2018. The aggressive expansion of these brands in markets outside mainland China will be the key to growth as the home market reaches saturation levels in 2018. But shipments of iPhone X, its new flagship model, declined severely.

For brands like Gionee, Meizu, TCL and Lenovo, a rebound seems hard at this time.

ZTE continues to face tough competition in high growth markets, which led to declining market share during the quarter.

There was a dip in the smartphone shipments from Oppo and Vivo for the second consecutive quarter. ZTE and Sony are part of the top 10 smartphone makers list prepared by IHS Markit. In these markets, the Lite versions continue to be the company's bestselling devices, but the P10 and the Mate 10 range are in a much better position compared to predecessors P9 and Mate 9.

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