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Smartphones continue to grow

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Preliminary data from IHS Markit shows that the global smartphone market grew by 6,4% year-over-year in Q3 2017, to 367-million units — up from 345-million units in the year-ago quarter.
Apple grew shipments by 2,6% year-over-year, as the company is beginning to see the impact of iPhone 8 and the lead-in to the availability of iPhone X. The rest of the market continues to be driven by Chinese brands Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo, which are all showing growth.
Xiaomi regained a top-five spot with another quarter of significant year-over-year growth of 111,2%, increasing from 13,1-million units in Q3 2016 to 27,6-million units in the last quarter. Xiaomi’s result was just enough to edge Vivo and propel the vendor into the top five. Vivo fell to the number-six position with 25,4-million units shipped.
Samsung shipped 83,4-million smartphones in the quarter, up 7,7% from the year-ago result of 77,5-million units. Strong sales of the new J series, along with the launch, initial availability and demand for the Galaxy Note 8, helped deliver 23% year-over-year revenue growth to 27,2-trillion KRW. However, Samsung saw product mix shift to the mid to low end, leading to a 6% decline in mobile revenue from the previous quarter.
Market share for Samsung improved to 23% in the quarter, up from 22% in 2016. Samsung is not making strides in China, where local competition continues to gain ground.
Apple reported a 2,6% growth in unit shipments for the quarter, shipping 46,7-million units in Q3 2017 compared to 45,5-million units in the year-ago quarter. Apple was able to reverse its recent performance in China and grow overall revenue in this market 12% year-over-year. In Japan, revenues declined 11% year-over-year. The Americas region reported 14% growth, Europe 20% and the rest of Asia 5%.
Huawei continues to hold the number-three position globally, shipping 39,1-million smartphone units in Q3 2017 — an increase of 16,4% from Q3 2016. Huawei’s market share increased to 11% from a year ago and held steady quarter-over-quarter. The company benefits from a strong brand at home and dominance over local peers. Huawei continues to grow its international business, something its Chinese competitors continue to approach cautiously. Companies like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have placed more importance on the overseas markets. Xiaomi, for example, just announced that it will expand into Spain beginning in November 2017. In October, Huawei released its latest high-end flagship, the Mate 10 range, which the company hopes will continue to drive expansion in the premium smartphone segment.
Oppo and Vivo reported solid growth in Q3 2017. Oppo grew 17,9%, from 26,8-million units in Q3 2016 to 31,6-million units in Q3 2017. Vivo, again, had a higher growth rate, 20,4%, from 21,1-million units in Q3 2016 to 25,4-million units in the most recent quarter. The Chinese market supports the companies’ growth. Both companies slightly improved market share from the previous year, taking 9% and 7% respectively in the quarter.
Xiaomi continued its recent growth trajectory by shipping 27,6-million units in Q3 2017, up from 13,1-million units in Q3 2016. This represents growth of 111.2%year-over-year — and just beating Vivo for a top-five finish by 2,2-million units. Increased retail channel availability in China and growth in its international markets, especially India, are responsible for this growth.
The rest of the market decreased by 10,7% year-over-year. Brands like TCL-Alcatel, Meizu, Sony Coolpad and HTC experienced declines in the last quarter.
Q4 2017 promises to be an interesting quarter, as many market leaders have now introduced their flagship devices for the end of the year. Furthermore, Apple will be under pressure to deliver enough iPhone X units, while continuing to sell iPhone 8 models as well.