iPhone and Samsung Galaxy launches fail to stop smartphone slump

Channel ResearchSmartphones

Analyst reports reveal slowdown in global sales despite big-name releases in last quarter, with Chinese brands taking over

Global smartphone sales suggest market saturation is finally having an impact on the mobile industry, despite a number of high profile device launches, according to two separate reports.

Strategy Analytics said the first quarter of 2016 saw the first year-on-year contraction in global smartphone shipments on record, as emerging markets matured and worries about the global economy held shoppers back from purchasing new devices.

Top dogs

Overall, shipments fell by three percent year-on-year from 345 million to 334.6 million. Samsung remained the world’s biggest smartphone vendor, with sales of its new flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones helping it to ship 79 million units in the quarter.

This was good enough to record a 23.6 percent market share – although this was still a 4.5 percent decline from the previous year, when it controlled 24 percent of the market.

SamsungApple remained in second place, but shipments fell 16 percent year-on-year to total 51.2 million. The company’s market share also dropped to 15.3 percent from 17.7 percent a year earlier due largely to what Strategy Analytics called “iPhone fatigue”.

Eastern power

The numbers were not quite so bleak over at analyst house IDC, which reported figures that showed a slight growth in the number of smartphones sold in the quarter.

However, the total of 334.9 million smartphones shipped across the world in this time was still only marginally bigger than 2015’s figure, making it the smallest year-over-year growth on record.

IDC also named Samsung and Apple as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers, but the rest of the firm’s top five contained some new names, as Chinese firms recorded improving sales to topple more well-established names.

With Huawei in third place, taking 8.2 percent of the market thanks to shipments of 27.5 million in the quarter, IDC’s figures showed that Oppo and Vivo were able to push out previous fourth and fifth place players Lenovo and Xiaomi, as their low-cost, domestically-marketed devices enjoyed huge surges in popularity.

Oppo recorded a 153.2 percent year-over-year growth to take 5.5 percent of the market, with Vivo, which has found its niche in the Chinese premium device market, taking a 4.3 percent share.

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