Smartphone shipments grow 9 percent thanks to China

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 helped it return to the top, but competitive Chinese handsets are carrying the market forward.

May 29, 2017

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Samsung’s Galaxy S8 helped it return to the top, but competitive Chinese handsets are carrying the market forward.

Oppo is already the top vendor in China, but now it’s hot on the heels of Huawei in the global market.
(Source: Gartner)

The smartphone market has been slowing for a while. The market has become so saturated that the growth rate for 2016 was just 5 percent. Competitively priced and innovative smartphones from China are helping give the market a boost, however. This is according to Gartner, which recently released numbers showing smartphone shipments grew 9.1 percent in the first quarter.

Thanks in part to the release of the Galaxy S8, Samsung topped Apple with 78.7 million smartphone shipments. This was 20.7 percent of shipments for the quarter. Apple still came in second with 13.7 percent market share. Huawei held onto third place with 9 percent, although competitors Oppo and Vivo are not far behind.

Oppo and Vivo have 8.1 percent and 6.8 percent global market share respectively, but most of their shipments are still in China. This has allowed Oppo to become the top vendor in the aforementioned country, which is also Huawei’s home turf. Huawei has better global distribution, but it has wound up at a disadvantage at home where there remains a highly competitive marketplace.

Gartner also tracks mobile operating system usage, although the numbers are not likely to shock anyone. Android’s market share is up by 2 percentage points to 86.1 percent. Apple’s iOS has 13.7 percent market share. Since Android is an open source platform that only seems to be gaining more possible uses as time goes on, the operating system is likely to continue to dominate mobile devices for the foreseeable future. Google’s Android Go effort, which is designed for low-cost handsets, could even help improve Android’s market share.

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