Apple takes top spot in worldwide smartphone market in Q4

With so much recent focus on India from both market-leading smartphone vendors and research firms, we nearly forgot global shipment numbers for the final quarter of 2017, as well as the year as a whole, were never released to begin with. According to Strategy Analytics, there was 1 percent growth in smartphone shipments (setting a 1.5 billion unit record high). The trend was very visible in developed markets such as China and the U.S., where consumers did not rush to upgrade their devices to the newer generation of higher-priced flagship phones.

"The latest flock of posh flagships may have had consumers hitting the pause button in the holiday quarter", said Anthony Scarsella, research manager of Mobile Phones at IDC.

"In the presence of ultra-high-end flagships, the still high-priced flagships from the previous generation seemed far more palatable to consumers in 2017", said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

Holiday sales of high-end devices did not live up to expectations in the US, which, along with softening demand in China, made for significant fourth-quarter declines in the smartphone market and a flatter-than-expected 2017 overall. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo were the only brands among top ten which grew YoY-mostly due to strong performances outside of China.

As for Apple specifically, Strategy Analytics says that the iPhone accounted for a 19 percent share of the smartphone market in the holiday quarter, edging out both Samsung and Huawei. According to it, Samsung was the first with 317.3 million units and market share of 21.6 percent. IDC released a data today that the global shipment volume in 2017 dropped from 1.47 billion by 0.1 percent, indicating the first annual market volume shrinkage.

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Consequently, it has regained growth momentum this year with reasonably priced, innovative products and global market expansion, toppling Samsung's position as the largest vendor in India. Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones into the market during the final quarter of 2017, which is down 1 percent annually. Its global shipments grew 10 percent to 153.1 million in 2017. Despite Cupertino's victory, Samsung remains the top smartphone vendor overall for 2017. Moreover, the launch, which at in Barcelona later this month, may even help the company win over both new and current customers this year.

Rounding out the top three is Huwaei, shipping 41 million units in the fourth quarter, a 9.7 percent drop year-over-year.

In terms of global market share, though, Oppo is ahead with an eight-percent share, while Vivo has captured seven percent of the market. "Apple remained number two in CY 2017, capturing 14 per cent market share", market research firm Counterpoint Research said.

Xiaomi managed to double its share to seven percent from 3.3 percent during the holiday quarter previous year as it continues to focus on growth outside China, with India and Russian Federation being two of its largest markets. The company also has fast build-outs in markets like Indonesia, where it has partnered with Indosat to offer a telco bundling package. In India, Xiaomi also launched Redmi Y-series in India and roped in Bollywood celebrity Katrina Kaif to endorse the selfie-centric smartphone series as its first product endorser. The Redmi 5A, launched at Dollars 78, saw more than 1 million devices sold within a month.