Worldwide iPhone sales were flat in the first quarter of 2017, according to Gartner, causing a year-on-year drop in Apple's share of a growing smartphone industry boosted by the rise of top Chinese mobile manufacturers breaking out into neighboring markets.
Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 380 million units in the first quarter of 2017, a 9.1 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016, reported Gartner. Of that figure, Apple sold 51.9 million units, up from 51.6 million in Q1 2016, leading to a drop in market share year over year. Samsung retained top spot with 78.6 million units sold to end users, and held on to 20.7 per cent market share, but both figures were declines on a year ago.
"Sales of iPhones were flat, which led to a drop in market share year over year," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "Similar to Samsung, Apple is increasingly facing fierce competition from Chinese brands Oppo and Vivo, among others, and its performance in China is under attack."
Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo had a combined market share in the first quarter of 2017 that accounted for 24 percent, up 7 percent year on year. Huawei held third spot behind second-placed Apple, edging closer to the company with 34 million units in Q1 2017, while Oppo continued to catch up with Huawei, with a 94.7 percent increase in global sales, resulting in the best performance of the quarter and maintaining its number one position in China.
The top three Chinese smartphone manufacturers are driving sales with their competitively priced, high quality smartphones equipped with innovative features, according to Gartner, with aggressive marketing and sales promotion having further helped the brands to take share from others in markets such as India, Indonesia and Thailand. In India alone, for example, Vivo grew by 220 per cent.
In the operating system market, iOS saw continued growth, with a 0.9 percent uptick in market share year on year. But it was Android that fared best, growing its share by 2 percent, thanks to increasing acceptance of Chinese brands in global markets, led by high-quality smartphones.