Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 380 million units in the first quarter of 2017, a 9.1 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016, estimates Gartner. Mobile phone buyers are spending more to get a better phone, resulting in the rise in average selling prices of phones.
The shift in buyer preference is positively affecting Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo in their strategy to build desirable features at affordable prices. Their combined market share in the first quarter of 2017 accounted for 24 percent, up 7 percentage points year-on-year.
The top three Chinese smartphone manufacturers are driving sales with their competitively priced, high-quality smartphones equipped with innovative features. Furthermore, aggressive marketing and sales promotion have further helped these brands to take share from other brands in markets such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Sales of iPhones were flat, which led to a drop in market share year-over-year. Similar to Samsung, Apple is increasingly facing fierce competition from Chinese brands Oppo and Vivo, among others, and its performance in China is under attack. Huawei edged closer to Apple with smartphone sales amounting to 34 million units in the first quarter of 2017. Oppo is continuing to catch up with Huawei. With a 94.6 percent increase in worldwide smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2017, Oppo achieved the best performance of the quarter and retained the No. 1 position in China. Meanwhile, Vivo sold almost 26 million smartphones and achieved a market share of 6.8 percent, which helped it achieve growth of 84.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, the battle is now clearly between Android and iOS. With other operating systems struggling for momentum, Android grew its share by 2 percent. Growing acceptance of Chinese brands in the global markets, led by high-quality smartphones, is driving Android OS dominance. Moreover, with Google’s announcement of Android Go – targeted at the entry-level smartphone market – the OS market is heading for continued growth.