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Did you know how many smartphones sold worldwide in the first quarter (Jan – March) of 2018?  A whopping 360 million phones (that’s 4.7% of the world population), although this was a 3% decline from 371.1 million sold in the first quarter of last year.

Samsung had a 21.7% market share followed by Apple at 14.5% and Huawei at 10.9%. The Top 10 players now capture 76% of the market thereby leaving 600+ brands to compete for the remaining 24% of the market.

The China market decline in Q1 2018 affected the overall growth of some of the key Chinese brands including OPPO and Vivo. The brands are investing in countries and regions outside China to offset the weak demand in the home market. The key markets for Chinese brands expansion so far has been India, South East Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Smartphone penetration fell to 76% of all the mobile phones shipped in the quarter. This was partly due to an increase in feature phone shipments by some key brands such as Nokia HMD and Reliance Jio who both saw YoY growth.

Nokia HMD, iTel, Xiaomi, Tecno, OnePlus and Huawei were the noted brands in the fastest growing category. OPPO, Vivo, Samsung in the top 10 smartphone category reported declines in Q1 2018.

Samsung shipments grew 5% with the launch of the Galaxy S9 and S9+. China remains a struggle for Samsung in Q1 2018 as shipments declined over 50% in Q1 2018. Latin America remains the most favorable market for Samsung, where the company holds over 30% market share.

Apple shipped 52.2 million iPhones during Q1 2018, up 3% as compared to the same quarter last year. iPhone X remains the top seller during the quarter. Apple grew 32% YoY in China due to strong performance of iPhone X.

Huawei shipments grew 14% YoY in Q1 2018 even though growth in China slowed down considerably. The company’s continuous efforts to expand in markets outside China has resulted in strong growth in Europe (+46%), MEA (+38%) and in India (+146%) where it entered the Top 5 smartphone brand list for the first time in Q1 2018.

Xiaomi remained one of the fastest growing brands (+101%) in Q1 2018, driven by strong sales in both China (+51%) and India (+134%). It shipped 27 million smartphones, capturing 7.5% market share of the global smartphone market in Q1 2018. It surpassed OPPO to become the fourth largest smartphone brand in Q1 2018. It continues to grow in the India smartphone market along with increasing efforts to enter new markets and capture more market share in Q2 2018.

OPPO and Vivo were the fifth and sixth largest brands during the quarter, capturing market share of 6% and 5%, respectively. Both of the brands recorded annual declines in Q1 2018 for the first time. The aggressive expansion of these brands in markets outside mainland China will be the key to growth as the home market reaches saturation levels in 2018.

LG registered 11.4 million smartphone shipments in Q1 2018. It’s smartphone shipments declined both annually (-23%) and sequentially (-18%) due to a revised smartphone launch strategy that led to no flagship launch in Q1 2018.

Lenovo (including Motorola) captured the 8th spot with a market share of about 2%. While the Motorola brand did well, it was Lenovo smartphones that registered decline during the quarter. The Lenovo brand declined in India and in rest of APAC while Motorola continued to do well in LATAM and US smartphone markets.

ZTE continues to face tough competition in high growth markets which led to declining market share during the quarter. The US component ban from the US government will take a toll on the company’s smartphone shipments in the coming quarters.
iTel entered the top 10 smartphone brand list for the first time. The company is also doing well in the feature phone market.

iTel entered the top 10 smartphone market for the first time, together the three smartphone brands of Transsion holdings (Tecno, iTel and Infinix) accounted for over 10 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2018.

In the Top 10 models, 5 models of iPhone had shipments of 40.6 million units, while 5 models of Samsung Galaxy sold 35.3 million units.

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