China leads smartphone sales across globe; Samsung, Apple witness decline

Apple and Samsung, however, retain the top two positions in the global top-five list


A surge of 5.4% in overall sale of smartphones across the world in the third quarter resulted in total sale of 373 million smartphones to end users. Photo: AFP
A surge of 5.4% in overall sale of smartphones across the world in the third quarter resulted in total sale of 373 million smartphones to end users. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: Sales of Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones dipped by 14.2% year-on-year globally in the third quarter of 2016, the company’s worst performance ever, while Apple Inc. recorded its lowest market share since the first quarter of 2009, according to a Gartner Inc. report released on Thursday. The two companies, however, retained the top two positions in the global top-five list.

On the other hand, Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment, which completed the top five list, recorded increase in sales, together accounting for 21% of total smartphone sales across the world.

While Samsung and Apple hold the highest market share at 19.2% and 11.5%, respectively, Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communication followed with 8.7%, 6.7% and 5.3%, respectively.

A surge of 5.4% in overall sale of smartphones across the world in the third quarter resulted in total sale of 373 million smartphones to end users, the Gartner report said.

Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, noted in the report that China has led the growth of smartphones globally. “Sales of smartphones in China grew by 12.4%, and the vendors who most successfully exploited the sales opportunities there were Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment. In Oppo’s case, 81% of smartphone sales came from China, while BBK accounted for 89% of smartphone sales in China,” he added.

Apart from growing strongly in China, BBK Communications and Oppo enjoyed strong growth in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia. Huawei, on the other hand, ranks right after Apple Inc. in terms of market share with 8.7%. For Apple Inc., the fall in market share continued in the third quarter, recording its lowest market share since the first quarter of 2009 at 11.5%.

“Apple’s sales fell by 8.5% in the US and by 31% in China, two of its biggest markets. The iPhone 7 struggled to stimulate replacement sales,” Gartner said in the report.

Despite a good start for Samsung in the year, the battery problem that caused the company’s Note products to remain unsold remained one of the biggest reasons for poor performance.

“The decision to withdraw the Galaxy Note 7 was correct, but the damage to Samsung’s brand will make it harder for the company to increase its smartphone sales in the short term,” Gupta said. “For Samsung, it’s crucial that the Galaxy S8 launches successfully, so that partners and customers regain trust in its brand.”

In the corresponding period last year, Samsung and Apple recorded 23.6% and 13% market share as against 19.2% and 11.5%, respectively, in 2016. The combined share of Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment was around 14% in Q3 of 2015.

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