Chinese smartphone vendors surge in Q3 as Samsung, Apple, LG stumble

IDC shows the top 5 biggest smartphone vendors in the third quarter of 2016.

According to the latest figures on the smartphone market, sales are picking up globally as the industry recovers from a noteworthy slowdown during the first half of 2016. However, that growth appears to be driven largely by Chinese vendors like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo.

“According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 6 percent annually to reach 375 million units in Q3 2016,” the firm said in a release. “Samsung maintained first position with 20 percent global smartphone marketshare, while Oppo grew 140 percent annually and was the star performer.”

Other firms largely agreed with Strategy Analytics’ findings. “The top five vendors remain unchanged from last quarter despite double- and triple-digit growth from the leading Chinese vendors Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo,” noted IDC in its own release. “While Samsung and Apple continue to challenge each other at the top, these upcoming players have delivered value-packed devices that offer consumers top-shelf features at a fraction of the cost compared to the market leaders. … Whether or not these brands can make an impact in the U.S. market remains to be seen, but success will be crucial if aspirations of growth are a top priority.”

The reports on the global smartphone market follow earnings results from Apple, Samsung and LG this week. Apple, for its part, announced sales of 45.5 million iPhones versus 48 million in the same quarter last year. “Apple’s global smartphone marketshare has softened from 14 percent to 12 percent in the past year,” explained Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston. “Apple has been given a slight boost by Samsung’s Note 7 missteps, but it continues to face iPhone fatigue among many consumers in major regions such as China and Europe.”

Samsung earlier today released official results that were largely in line with the company’s warnings, showing declines in revenues and profits largely stemming from its decision to cease production of its Galaxy Note 7 amid reports of the device unexpectedly exploding. Similarly, LG reported a $389.4 million loss in its mobile communications division, which houses its smartphone business, despite shipping 13.5 million devices and growing its U.S. sales by 14 percent quarter-on-quarter.

It was China’s Oppo and Vivo that scored the biggest gains in the space. “Oppo is very popular in China and is internationalizing rapidly across India, Asia and other emerging markets,” explained Strategy Analytics’ Linda Sui. “Vivo surged to fifth place for the first time ever, capturing a record 5 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q3 2016, leaping from 3 percent a year ago. Vivo’s range of Android models, such as the V3 and X7, are proving wildly popular in China, taking share from rivals such as Samsung, Apple and Huawei.”

Overall, IDC said smartphone vendors shipped a total of 362.9 million devices worldwide in the third quarter, up 1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

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