Smartphones growing globally despite faltering Apple & Samsung

Shipments of smartphones saw a 6% annual increase during Q3 2016, constituting the quickest industry growth over the past year.

New research from Strategy Analytics found that 375 million units were shipped in the third quarter this year, compared to 354.2 million over the same period last year. Growth forecasts for H2 2016 are high following the launch of desirable new products from manufacturers such as Apple and Huawei.

Samsung held onto its lead in the global smartphone market with a 20% share, although the manufacturer’s global shipments over the past year were down to 75.3 million from 83.8 million – a fall of 10%. This is the firm’s slowest recorded growth rate in two years. This was likely in part due to the brand damage caused when the vendor was forced to issue a highly publicised recall of its Galaxy Note 7 handset, which was then discontinued.

Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston noted that the debacle “was handled badly…dented [Samsung’s] brand image and left a large product gap in its smartphone line-up. Samsung will now be looking to its next flagship launch, such as the rumoured Galaxy S8 model, to recover momentum in 2017.”

Samsung’s closest rival Apple saw its market share drop from 14% to 12%, while total shipments fell by 5% despite the launch of its newest models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Mawston noted that “Apple has been given a slight boost by Samsung’s Note 7 missteps, but it continues to face iPhone fatigue among many consumers in major regions such as China and Europe.”

Chinese handset manufacturers overtook their American and Korean rivals in terms of growth, with Oppo holding onto its fourth-placed position with 21.6 million units shipped, representing 140% year on year growth. The Chinese firm has a 6% global market share, just slightly behind third-placed Huawei which had 9% in Q3 2016, up from 8% last year.

Despite Huawei’s market share edging upwards, its growth rate was halved to 26% year on year as it faces increased competition from Oppo, Vivo, and LeEco – the last of which is fast gaining ground.

Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics noted: “Oppo is very popular in China and is internationalising rapidly across India, Asia and emerging markets. Oppo is a rising star.”

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