Chinese Brands Taking over the Smartphone Market as Sales Flatten

The latest data from research firm IDC shows Chinese companies taking over the smartphone market. While Samsung and Apple continue to hold the top two position, both companies have been affected by the slowing down of the smartphone market.

Apple saw a 16.3 percent decline in its smartphone shipments in Q1, 2016 from a year ago. The drop led the Cupertino company to lose 3 percent of its global smartphone market share, though it continues to remain the second biggest smartphone maker in the world.

Samsung continues to lead the market in terms of shipment, though it did see a small dip in its total smartphone shipments (81.9m vs. 82.4m). IDC notes that despite the slight decline in shipments, Samsung’s latest flagship handsets — the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge — “sold vigorously in the month of March and was helped by numerous enticing carrier promotions to help push volume.” Samsung’s budget oriented J-series helped the company in emerging markets.

The next 3 companies — Huawei, Oppo and vivo — in the list from IDC are the surprise entrants. Huawei has been growing tremendously over the last couple of years, and it posted a 58.4% growth in its shipments to grab the third spot in the smartphone market. It managed to ship 27.5 million smartphones in Q1, 2016 compared to 17.4 million units from a year ago.

Oppo, which grabbed the fourth spot in terms of units shipped, posted the biggest growth: 153.2%. In Q1, 2015, the company had 2.2 percent of the smartphone market share, but in Q1, 2016 that has expanded to 5.5%. IDC says the company has grown thanks to its focus on offline channels and making its presence better felt in smaller cities in China and other countries in Asia.

vivo rounded the top 5 smartphone companies in Q1, 2016 by shipping 14.3 million smartphones to capture 4.3 percent of the market share. The company positions itself as a relatively premium brand in China, and has followed a strategy similar to Oppo that has allowed it to grow despite the smartphone market shrinking.

Overall, IDC notes that the smartphone market grew by only 0.2 percent in Q1, 2016. If anything, this confirms that the smartphone market has reached its peak, and we should see worldwide smartphone sales decline for the first time ever from the next quarter.

The list from IDC also shows that Chinese brands are taking over the smartphone market, with other renowned brands like LG, HTC and Motorola failing to make a dent in the market. Xiaomi, which started with a bang, has also started losing steam, as it sees other local Chinese OEMs take over the smartphone market.

[Via IDC]