Research firm Counterpoint has released its latest market report, showing a global decline in smartphone shipments in Q1 2018.
The 3% drop means that the top 10 players now capture 76% of the market, leaving 600+ brands to compete for the remaining 24%.
“The waning smartphone demand is due to a slow-down in developed markets where replacement cycles are lengthening with overall smartphone features and design reaching its peak,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research.
“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 average selling price of smartphones is increasing, too, in emerging markets with users upgrading from entry level to the mid smartphone segment.
“Hence, we expect OEMs to accelerate their go to market strategy and expansion in parts of Africa and rest of the APAC region to capture the growing demand in CY 2018.”
While Samsung and Apple saw a 3% increase and decrease in shipments respectively, the biggest takeaway from the report is the rise of Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi.
“The saturating China smartphone market is forcing the Chinese smartphone players to invest and expand beyond their home market,” said Counterpoint research analyst Shobhit Srivastava.
“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.”
“The ideal smartphone market for Chinese brands are the emerging smartphone markets such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Middle East & Africa where LTE is being launched for the first time or the network is expanding to more covered geographies.”
Notably, Huawei shipments grew 14% YoY in Q1 2018 even though growth in China slowed considerably. Its continuous efforts to expand in markets outside China has resulted in strong growth in Europe (+46%), MEA (+38%) and in India (+146%) where it entered the top 5 smartphone brand list for the first time in Q1 2018.
Xiaomi also remained one of the fastest growing brands (+101%) in Q1 2018, driven by strong sales in both China (+51%) and India (+134%). It shipped 27 million smartphones, capturing 8% market share of the global smartphone market in Q1 2018.