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Apple’s lead over Samsung lasted only for a quarter, as the duo swapped back to their consistent worldwide smartphone spots: Samsung in first and Apple in second. The trend continues: Samsung dominates the first three quarters in the year, and Apple snags the fourth quarter
Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 344.4 million smartphones worldwide in Q1 2018, down 2.9 percent from the 344.4 million units in Q1 2017. Of the top five (Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo), three shipped more units: Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi. That said, the top four all gained share, with Oppo and all the other smaller players shipping even fewer units. The Q1 2018 figures come from IDC (though Strategy Analytics agrees with the decline and the top five list), which summarized its findings in the following chart:
As you can see above, Samsung’s market share inched up 0.1 percentage points (from 23.3 percent to 23.4 percent) as it shipped 1.9 million fewer smartphones (78.2 million). Samsung typically owns about a fifth of the market, and that remains unchanged. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are doing fine (although we haven’t yet seen a full quarter of sales), while hype is already mounting around the upcoming Galaxy Note9.
Apple’s share meanwhile grew 0.9 points (from 14.7 percent to 15.6 percent), thanks to slight iPhone gains. The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are chugging along as well, with Apple specifically noting that the iPhone X was the most popular model each week in the quarter.
Huawei gained a whopping 1.8 points, hitting a new high of 11.8 percent market share. Apple may have gained on Samsung, but Huawei continues to increase the heat on both juggernauts. Xiaomi jumped 4.1 points (to 8.4 percent) and Oppo slipped 0.4 points (to 7.1 percent). Overall, the Chinese trio is consistently eroding the Samsung-Apple duopoly.
As competition heats up, expect more consolidation — note that companies outside of the top five lost 6.5 points overall. Chinese companies continue to offer value-packed devices at a fraction of the cost, while market leaders Apple and Samsung are responding with multiple offerings. On top of that, consumers no longer seem to be as obsessed with upgrading to the latest and greatest.
“Globally, as well as in China, a key bellwether, smartphone consumers are trading up to more premium devices, but there are no longer as many new smartphone converts, resulting in shipments dropping,” IDC associate research director Melissa Chau said in a statement. “When we look at it from a dollar value perspective, the smartphone market is still climbing and will continue to grow over the years to come as consumers are increasingly reliant on these devices for the bulk of their computing needs.”
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