Chinese Brands Show Strong Growth in Global Shipments of Smartphones

Huawei consolidates as Samsung's main competitor in the latest Counterpoint research report.


As every quarter, the different consultations of the technological world put in black on white the sales figures for each of the manufacturers.

The new report of the research company Counterpoint shows that global shipments of smartphones in the third quarter of 2018 decreased by 3% to the level of 386.8 million devices sold. At the same time, it is expected that after a steady growth over the previous 5 years (an average of 16%), this year there will be a decrease in supplies by 1%.

The decrease in sales of smartphones is fixed at such companies as Samsung, LG, and Lenovo. Apple has a stable situation. Only Xiaomi, Huawei, HMD Global, and some other Chinese brands can boost sales growth.

Counterpoint Research statistics on world smartphone deliveries in July-September 2018.

China leads the race

The leader of the smartphone market in the third quarter of 2018 was the Samsung company, which was able to sell 72.3 million smartphones. But this figure was 13% lower than the result of the same period of the previous year. In second place with the result of 52 million units shipped was the company Huawei. However, it was able to increase sales by 33%. Apple ranked third with a result of 46.9 million iPhones. This is only 0.4% more than in the third quarter of 2017.

Chinese brands Xiaomi (by 25%), Oppo (by 4%) and Vivo (by 7%) boast a noticeable increase in smartphone shipments. A leader in the growth of smartphone shipments has become the company HMD Global, which sells mobile devices under the Nokia brand. The increase in the supply of smartphones from this manufacturer was 71%. About a quarter fell sales of smartphones from LG and Lenovo.

According to Counterpoint, Chinese manufacturers have increased their international deliveries.

Commenting on this market trend, Counterpoint research said “the growth in the emerging markets is led by Chinese smartphone players that are venturing out of China to capture sales. The offerings from these OEMs have intensified competition and many features and capabilities common among flagship models are now progressively diffusing through to the lower price bands.”

Closes the top ten leaders in the smartphone market, the Chinese company Tecno, which was able to sell 4.2 million devices. At the same time, the growth of supplies amounted to 11%.

The report added that “Chinese OEMs are driving up the ASP in the low to mid-tier price segments in emerging markets by offering competitive specifications at affordable prices. These OEMs have also carved out an “affordable premium” segment targeting users that cannot afford flagship devices. However, considering the macroeconomic factors in many of these emerging markets, many challenges still lie ahead. It will take more than an affordable smartphone offering to make users switch from their feature phone to a smartphone in the short-term.”

Huawei has advanced to Apple in a percentage point. Nearly 13% compared to 12% for the Chinese manufacturer, which last year had a 10% share worldwide and behind Apple. We will see what happens in the fourth quarter, which will surely be for Apple, but we could have a year-end with Huawei already in second place in a stable manner.

The market leader

In the lead, Samsung has lost a bit of fuel, as it has shown in previous quarters. Koreans are back down 20% share of sales worldwide, and its 72.3 million phones sold are worth it to achieve 19%. A situation still comfortable but increasingly delicate, then note that Huawei has cut the distance of 11 to 6 points, and sales of the Chinese and rise to 52 million.

Counterpoint highlighted that “the long-term R&D efforts of Huawei in developing and integrating cutting-edge technologies across its product portfolio have paid off. Huawei is successfully winning trust among Chinese consumers based on the quality of Huawei and Honor smartphones over its Android competitors, especially in the premium market where consumers are less sensitive to price. The YoY growth of Vivo was due to its successful marketing strategy. Its flagship models have benefited from the brand’s exposure as the official sponsor for the FIFA World Cup, which helped elevate its brand image among sports fans both in China and abroad.”

Fourth place is for Xiaomi, whose rise continues to maintain the strength of previous quarters, and now reaches the 35.7 million devices sold in a quarter. That is enough to get a 9% global share, two points above the same quarter of 2017 and slightly above an OPPO that they have recently advanced.

OPPO is the one that closes the Top 5 of manufacturers in this third quarter. The Chinese have also grown, although not in a very significant way. From 32.5 to 33.9 million units, and from 8% to 9% in market share.

Among the main reasons for the decline in smartphone shipments are the slowdown in the global economy, the growth of trade tariffs, and the rise in prices for smartphones themselves. Also, analysts say that many markets have already reached saturation, because new smartphones are bought there, mainly to replace existing devices. And buying more expensive models leads to an increase in the update cycle, especially in conditions of limited income.

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