Apple continues to lead global premium smartphone segment by capturing more than half of the market while OnePlus, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer based in Shenzhen, entered the top five brands in the premium segment for the first time ever in 2018.
The segment grew faster than the global smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor 2018 service.
It grew 14% year-on-year (YoY) in terms of sell-in and 18% YoY in terms of sell-through. Growth was driven by new iPhones and launches in a premium segment from Chinese OEMs like Huawei, OPPO, OnePlus.
The research group said that Chinese players have scaled up their presence in the premium segment and have expanded the category.
“Further, they are now eyeing new geographies for growth. Apple remained the market leader capturing 51% share of the premium segment, a significant lead over its nearest competitor Samsung which had a 22% share,” it said.
However, Chinese brands made their mark as Huawei’s share in the segment reached double digits (10%) for the first time in a calendar year. OPPO (+863%), OnePlus (+209%), and Xiaomi (+149%) were the fastest growing brands in the premium segment.
An indication of the increasing competition in the segment is highlighted by the fact that close to 40 OEMs now compete in the premium segment globally, Counterpoint noted.
Of these, the top five players account for almost 90% of shipments. Premium segment contributed to one-fourth (22%) of the global smartphone shipments in 2018.
A closer look at how the different brands performed in the premium segment, in different regions, showed that in Middle East & Africa, Apple is still the strongest premium brand, followed by Samsung, and Huawei.
Premium Smartphone Segment Rankings of OEMs by Regions 2018:
“Huawei’s strong performance was primarily due to the success of the P20 and Mate 20 series, which focused on camera, power, and design as key differentiating features. It also gained share in the premium segment in China and Europe,” Counterpoint said.
Across all segments, data published by the firm in March showed that in South Africa, Samsung dominated market share in 2018, with 32%. Huawei accounted for 15%, with Apple, 5%, a fair chunk considering its premium only status.