Apple Gains Share of Shrinking Smartphone Market

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Confirming what Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) earnings showed, the company is picking up global market share in the smartphone industry. The bad news is that global smartphone shipments are falling.

According to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments fell 2% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same quarter in 2017, and totaled 353.8 million. The research firm mostly blamed a lack of new products.

While Samsung continues to be the largest smartphone company in the world, Apple is gaining. Its market share moved from 14.4% in the quarter last year to 15.1% in the first quarter of 2018. Samsung’s share dropped slightly from 22.7% to 22.6%. Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, commented:

Samsung shipped 78.2 million smartphones worldwide in Q1 2018, dipping 2 percent annually from 80.2 million units in Q1 2017. Samsung recaptured first place this quarter, after losing top spot to Apple in the previous Q4 2017 holiday season. Samsung is holding steady in its core markets of North America, Western Europe and South Korea, but the company is facing intense competitive pressure in China and India from rivals such as Xiaomi. Apple grew an above-average 3 percent annually and shipped 52.2 million smartphones for 15 percent marketshare worldwide in Q1 2018. Apple iPhone shipments have grown year-on-year in three of the past 4 quarters. Apple’s ultra-premium iPhone X is proving relatively popular in some markets like China and the US, while there remains scope for additional expansion in emerging regions such as India and Africa.

China’s Xiaomi watched its business surge. Its market share in the first quarter of last year was 3.6%, rising to 8.2%. Research shows it is doing particularity well in India. China’s OPPO suffered from poor results. Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, commented:

Xiaomi shipped an impressive 28.3 million smartphones and jumped to fourth position with a record 8 percent global marketshare in Q1 2018, doubling from 4 percent share a year ago. Xiaomi’s growth soared 125 percent annually in the quarter, outperforming all its major rivals. Xiaomi is expanding like wildfire across Asia, particularly in India. OPPO slipped to fifth place, capturing 7 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q1 2018, tumbling from 8 percent a year ago. OPPO has been hit hard by Xiaomi’s rapid retail expansion and Huawei’s much-improved Android device portfolio.

Apple’s momentum has continued. Now, it needs the market to grow.

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