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Samsung and Apple lose market share to Chinese smartphone firms

by Todd Haselton | May 20, 2016May 20, 2016 6:40 pm PDT

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge vs iPhone 6s-13

Global smartphone leaders Samsung and Apple both saw decreased market share during the first quarter of this year, according to new data from research firm Gartner. The report suggests Samsung’s market share dipped from 24.1 percent during the first quarter of 2015 to 23.2 percent in 1Q16. Apple’s share, meanwhile, decreased from 17.9 percent in 1Q15 to 14.8 percent in 1Q16. Huawei and Oppo were the biggest benefactors from those drop-offs.

Huawei’s market share increased from 5.4 percent to 8.3 percent during the same time period, while Oppo’s doubled from 2 percent to 4.6 percent. Those changes might seem negligible, but they’re quite extraordinary, especially considering Oppo’s shipments increased 145 percent. Xiaomi, the 5th largest smartphone maker in the world by shipments, saw its market share dip a hair, from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

“In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands’ long-standing business models to increase their share,” Gartner reserach director Anshul Gupta explained. “With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands. Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2015, and represented 11 percent of the market. In the first quarter of 2016, there were three Chinese brands – Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi – and they achieved 17 percent of the market.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Samsung and Apple are in trouble, though. Apple, for example, is notorious for its profit margins on mobile phones. Gartner said Android makers are still finding “challenges of profitability,” which means they aren’t necessarily making a lot of money, despite creating a larger footprint in the global smartphone landscape.

Gartner

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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