The worldwide smartphone market grew 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017 according to Gartner, an American technology research company. Although Samsung and Apple are primarily discussed in the United States, the growth of this market is actually being driven by three Chinese manufacturers.
Smartphone sales this quarter totaled around 380 million units – China’s top three mobile phone producers Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo carved out 24 percent of sales; this is up 7 percent year on year. Although Apple and Samsung are the top two smartphone manufacturers by global market share, they both saw decreases in the first quarter of this year. Samsung reported that preorders for the highly anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were up 30 percent, but reported that the Note 7’s notorious exploding batteries contributed to the quarter one sales decline. Samsung’s sales declined 3.1 percent, and Apple’s sales were flat – leaving the manufacturers with 20.7 percent and 13.7 percent respectively.
Gartner’s analysis said that smartphone buyers in 2017 are willing to spend more money to get a better device, which is causing the average selling price of smartphones to increase. The three Chinese manufacturers have begun to see sales in India, Indonesia, and Thailand as well due to aggressive marketing. Both Apple and Samsung state they are facing “fierce competition” in the entry level smartphone arena, and this is hurting sales. All in all, Huawei sold around 34 million units, Oppo grew 94.6 percent, and Vivo sold around 26 million units – Vivo’s market share also skyrocketed by 220 percent in the Asian and Pacific markets.
With the iPhone 8 (rumored to be named the iPhone X) slated to launch in September of this year, it is unclear what its impact will be on Apple’s market share. As for right now, the battle between Android and iOS continues to rage on. Because of Apple’s less than handsome 13.7 percent market share, Google’s platform grew two percent this quarter. According to Gartner, Android’s growth has been solidified due to the announcement of Android Go, which will heavily target the entry level arena. Android Go was announced last week during Google I/O’s keynote address. Android stated that Go will be able to run on devices with 1 GB or even 512 MB of RAM, allowing for apps from the Google Play Store to run on lower-end hardware.