Mon, Mar 05, 2018 - Page 15 News List

Seven of top 10 smartphone makers struggle in Q4

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Last quarter was tough for most of the world’s major smartphone vendors, with global handset shipments down 5 percent to 415 million units from a year ago due to weak demand in China and Europe, data compiled by Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed.

“For the first time in Q4 2017, shipments of seven out of the top 10 brands declined year-on-year,” Counterpoint research director Jeff Fieldhack said in a report on Feb. 2.

Xiaomi Corp (小米), Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀) and Vivo Communication Technology Co (維沃) were the only brands among the top 10 to post shipment growth, thanks to their significant market share gains in India and the Asia-Pacific region, Counterpoint said.

Another breakdown by International Data Corp (IDC) released last month also painted a gloomy picture for the industry, with global smartphone sales falling by 6.3 percent year-on-year to 430.7 million units in the final quarter of last year due to slower-than-expected Christmas sales.

Despite their difference in sales calculation methods, both Counterpoint and IDC said that Apple Inc surpassed Samsung Electronics Co to rank No. 1, thanks to the US firm’s launch of the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

While Apple and Samsung shipped fewer phones from a year earlier, they still gained market share, the reports said.

Apple shipments declined 1 percent annually, falling to 77.3 million units, but its market share increased to 18.63 percent, while Samsung’s shipments dropped 5 percent to 74.4 million units to grab a market share of 17.93 percent, Counterpoint said.

In IDC’s tallies, iPhone sales fell 1.3 percent annually to 77.3 million, but its market share rose 1 percentage point to 19.2 percent, while Samsung sold 4.4 percent fewer Galaxy phones at 74.1 million units, boosting its market share to 18.4 percent from 18 percent.

“The challenge for Apple going forward will be its ability to continue to grow its base of 1.3 billion devices,” Fieldhack said, referring to the milestone Apple reached in January.

Meanwhile, Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and Oppo maintained their third and fourth positions respectively, while Xiaomi replaced Vivo in the No. 5 spot due to strong sales outside of China, Counterpoint said.

Nonetheless, the top four Chinese handset brands are this year forecast to collectively ship 20 percent more phones from last year totaling 560 million units, on the back of sustained overseas shipment growth, continuous market-share gains and stable replacement demand in China, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd said in a note on Wednesday last week.

For all of last year, global smartphone shipments increased 2 percent to 1.55 billion units from a year earlier, Counterpoint said.

However, IDC’s report showed that worldwide sales fell 0.1 percent to 1.47 billion units, as phone makers struggled to create incentives for customers to upgrade their devices.

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