The global smartphone market

Apple, Samsung and Sony

If you ask people on the street about the most popular smartphone brands, all you hear is Apple, Samsung and Sony. But if you check the global smartphone vendor market share, you will be surprised that those brands are not even the biggest ones. The worldwide smartphone market grew 1.1% year over year in 2016Q3, with 363.2 million shipments, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Here are the figures for 2016:


Source: IDC, Nov 2016

Even though Samsung had to recall the galaxy note 7, they are still in a good position due to the success of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Apple instead shipped les units than in the last year but is still strong beind samsung. Huawei still takes number three. They pushed alof of premium smartphones this year selling for a high price like the mate 9 or porsche design. I’m not sure yet how successful they will be with their premium line and if they will be able to compete against apple, but they continue to grow. Now OPPO, china’s market leader in the smartphone business. With a share of 7.1% of the smartphone market, OPPO’s main play is in China, but they also do aggressive marketing outside of china. Al along with OPPO, also VIVO got into the TOP 5 smartphone manufcaturers. They took the place of Xiaomi, which took a big hit in 2016 and they lost 35% of market share in china.

What are the “Others” ?

Others includes a variety of smartphone manufacturers, alot of brands with a lower marketshare, but also alot of no name brands.  This chart shows how the smartphone market evolved over the years. It’s interesting to see how some brands disappeared and some new brands gained alot of market share. Xiaomi gained alot of marketshare in 2014, but lost alot in 2016. VIVO instead started gaining marketshare from 2015 until now. Also Lenovo lost alot of market share and Noki was completely gone (unitl now maybe).

But also in this chart there is still a huge amount of “others”.  There are so many smartphone manufacturers in china which have a low market share like UMI, Elephone, Ulefone, Nubia… but they all together make a big stake of the global shipments. The problem I see with those companies is that they usually push out alot of new smartphone models every year, but their lifetime is relatively short. I’m very interested about the next years, if maybe VIVO and OPPO can reduce the stake of the “others” with their low and mid-budget smartphones.