Global Smartphone Market Declined YoY For Second Successive Quarter in Q1 2018

Muriel Hammond
May 3, 2018

Apple shipped 52.2 million iPhones during Q1 2018, up 3 percent as compared to the same quarter previous year. iPhone X remains the top seller for Apple during the quarter.

"However, emerging markets still offer a sizeable opportunity for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to expand and grow as smartphone penetration by users in still around 45%". LG's smartphone shipments declined both annually (-23 percent) and sequentially (-18 percent) due to a revised smartphone launch strategy that led to no flagship launch in Q1 2018.

Apple clings on the second spot with a slight increase in growth numbers.

The diminishing smartphone demand is due to a slowdown in developed nations where high-specced and premium devices are likely to be preferred more. If the order stands, it will influence ZTE's smartphone business globally - affecting the company's ability to source critical components from the likes of Qualcomm and Google, among other United States technology providers.

The brands are investing in countries and regions outside China to offset the weak demand in the home market.

The three Chinese smartphone makers all saw their overseas sales further expand in Q1, especially in markets in Western Europe, India and Southeast Asia. The Top 10 smartphone brands now account for almost 76% of the market while the remaining 24% is distributed among the other 600 brands. Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is on the third spot with 39.3 million smartphones shipments with an 11.8 percent market share, an increase of 3.8 percent over Q1 2017. The company experienced impressive growth in India (+146%), Europe (+46%) and MEA (+38%).

HMD Global (Nokia), iTEL, Xiaomi, Tecno, OnePlus and Huawei were the brands that grew the fastest in Q1 2018.


The smartphone market globally witnessed a decline in the first quarter of 2018. The company growth has been driven by strong sales in India (+134%) and China (+51%). OPPO slipped to fifth place, capturing 7 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q1 2018, tumbling from 8 percent a year ago.

One of the reasons for the decline in shipments is that people are holding on to the phones they own, for longer.

Saturating smartphone markets meant the only manufacturers to enjoy growth during the first quarter of 2018 was the Chinese pair of Huawei and Xiaomi. Latin America remains the most favorable market for Samsung, where the company holds over 30 percent market share.

"Having seen consistent growth over the last few quarters, the C-brands as a group experience some decline year on year (from 13.4% to 10%), with Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel mirroring this trend".

Among 334.3 million units shipped, Samsung has topped the list with 78.2 million units.

Samsung remained the market leader, helped by its new S9 flagship phones, even though it entered the market late in the quarter.

ZTE's growth continues to struggle as the U.S. component ban came as an added disadvantage which has led to declining market share.

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