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© Apple (illustration purpose only) Analysis | June 29, 2018

China accounted for 7 of top 10 leading smartphone suppliers in 2017

IC Insights shows a final 2017 ranking of the top smartphone leaders in terms of unit shipments; 9 of the top 12 smartphone suppliers were headquartered in China. Two South Korean companies (Samsung and LG) and one U.S. supplier (Apple) make up the remainder.
Samsung and Apple dominated the smartphone market from 2015 through 2017. In total, these two companies shipped 526 million smartphones and held a combined 35% share of the total smartphone market in 2016. Moreover, these two companies shipped over one-half billion smartphones (533 million) in 2017 with their combined smartphone unit marketshare increasing one point to 36 percent.

Samsung’s total smartphone unit sales were up by two percent in 2017 to 317 million units, slightly outpacing the total smartphone market that grew by one percent. Meanwhile, orders for new Apple iPhones fell seven percent in 2016, much worse than the 4% growth rate exhibited for the worldwide smartphone market. However, Apple rebounded somewhat in 2017 with its total smartphone unit shipments being flat last year.

It appears that the up-and-coming Chinese producers like Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi are giving a serious challenge to Samsung and Apple for smartphone marketshare. It should be noted, however, that Samsung and Apple still hold a commanding share of the high-end smartphone segment—that is, smartphones priced more than USD 200.

The number four and five ranked smartphone suppliers on the list are owned by the same China-based parent company—BBK Electronics. Combined handset unit shipments from these two companies were 213.1 million in 2017, just 2.7 million less than second-ranked Apple, writes market analyst IC Insights.

Overall, there was very little middle ground with regard to smartphone shipment growth rates among the top 12 suppliers in 2017. Four of the top 12 companies registered double-digit unit growth while the other eight companies logged two percent or less increases and four of those displayed a double-digit decline. Three Chinese smartphone suppliers (Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo) saw their shipments surge at least 24 percent in 2017. Xiaomi displayed the highest growth rate of any of the top-12 smartphone suppliers (73%). Meanwhile, another three Chinese suppliers (LeEco/Coolpad, ZTE, and TCL) saw their smartphone shipments fall by more than 20 percent last year.

Combined, the nine leading smartphone suppliers based in China shipped 626 million smartphones in 2017, an 11 percent increase from 565 million smartphones that these nine companies shipped in 2016. The top nine Chinese smartphone suppliers together held a 42percent share of the worldwide smartphone market in 2017, up four points from the 38 percent share these companies held in 2016 and eight points better than the 34 percent combined share these companies held in 2015.

IC Insights projects smartphone shipments in 2018 will rise two percent, to 1.53 billion units. Moreover, smartphone unit shipments are forecast to grow at low single-digit annual rates through 2021.

More can be found at IC Insights
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November 20 2018 6:51 pm V11.9.5-2