The global smartphone market has a new king — Apple. The US-based iPhone-maker has made a comeback at the top spot after 5 years, beating Samsung. The South Korean giant has been pushed to No. 2 spot in global rankings. Wonder who are the other key players in the world’s smartphone market?
The Cupertion giant beat Samsung to reclaim the top spot after five years. Apple made a comeback to the top spot, thanks largely to the success of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Despite a strong fourth quarter, 2016 marked the first full year of declining shipments for the iPhone with a 7% year-over-year drop. Apple shipped a record 78.3 million units in the fourth quarter, up 4.7% from the same quarter one year ago.
Although the iPhone 7 did not feature a drastically different industrial design from its predecessor, it did bring yet another significantly improved processor, more robust camera, water resistance, and new color/finish options.
Samsung dropped to second in the worldwide smartphone market with shipments declining 5.2% compared to last year. The Korean giant shipped 77.5 million units in fourth quarter of 2016, down from the 81.7 million units shipped last holiday quarter. On the year, Samsung shipped 311.4 million smartphones worldwide, which was down 3% from the 320.9 million shipments in 2015. Despite the Note 7 debacle and growing pressure from Chinese vendors, Samsung still managed to find success with its S7 and popular J-series of devices in numerous markets.
The challenging holiday quarter, however, did bring its worldwide market share below 20% for the first time in over four years, leaving no better time for the pending arrival of its next flagship product, the Galaxy S8.
Shenzhen-headquartered smartphone brand OnePlus is another prominent player in the market. The company known for its mid-range smartphones, which it calls ‘flagship killers’, recently opened its experience center in Bengaluru.
In November 2016, it launched successor to its OnePlus 3 smartphone, OnePlus 3T priced at Rs 29,999 onwards.
The Chinese smartphone brand retained the number three position while gaining worldwide market share. For the first-time ever in Q2-2016, the company captured double-digit share with 10.6% of the total shipment volume. Huawei shipped 45.4 million units in the quarter, up 38.6% from the 32.7 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2015.
For the year, Huawei shipped 139.3 million units, up 30.2% from the 107 million units shipped in 2015. The P series and Honor sub-brand drove essential volume in China as well as other countries in Asia and beyond. With proven success in China and many European countries, Huawei now has its sights set on the US.
Oppo continued its push to reach the top of the market with its fourth straight quarter of greater than 100% year-over-year growth. Oppo shipped 31.2 million smartphones in the holiday quarter, which was up 117% from the 14.4 million smartphones shipped in Q4-2015. The focus for Oppo over the past year has been international expansion outside China and so far it has been successful at this.
Beyond China, Southeast Asia and India have been the focal points for Oppo’s growth in 2016 supported by intense marketing campaigns and new product launches. The company also began ramping up its presence in the Middle East.
vivo remained the number five vendor with 24.7 million smartphones shipped in the holiday quarter, which was up from the 12.1 million shipped last holiday season. Over the year, vivo shipped a total of 77.3 million smartphones, up 103% from the 38 million last year. The majority of the shipments continue to be in China, however, and much like OPPO, vivo has been extremely aggressive with its marketing in a number of countries in Asia as it looks to extend its global reach.
Vivo too saw a growth of 103% in smartphone shipment numbers as compared to the same quarter last year.
Xiaomi made a comeback in the Indian smartphone market in the year 2016. The company’s flagship smartphones Mi 5 along with ‘value-for-money budget’ offering Redmi Note 3 did managed good sales numbers in India.
Chinese smartphone maker Lenovo though lost its position in the top 5 globally, the company continues to do well in the Indian market. The company recently launched world’s first Google Tango-based smartphone, Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, in India. Lenovo’s subsidiary Motorola too saw a good growth in India and other markets.
LG took everyone by surprise this year by launching an all-modular flagship smartphone, the LG G5. The handset, however, failed to bring desired results for the company.
Sony recently confirmed that it will only sell premium smartphones in India and other select countries. The Japanese company recently launched its Xperia XZ smartphone. Sony faces tough fight this year as it plans to focus only on high-end devices in the country.