IDC: Oppo, Vivo knock Lenovo and Xiaomi from top-5 smartphone vendor list in Q1

Samsung cemented its position as the world's No 1 smartphone vendor in the first quarter, according to fresh data from IDC, and Apple maintained its second-place status. But a couple other names among the top five may surprise you.

According to IDC, Oppo in China saw a year-over-year increase in smartphone shipments of 153.2 percent, shipping 18.5 million smartphones during the quarter and taking a market share of 5.5 percent. The figures earned Oppo the No. 4 position on IDC's global smartphone vendors list.

And China's Vivo more than doubled its shipments to 14.3 million units in the quarter, good for a 4.3 percent share of the worldwide market and the No. 5 slot.

The two lesser-known vendors displaced Lenovo and Xiaomi, which had claimed fourth and fifth place respectively in market share during the fourth quarter of 2015.

The sudden rise of Oppo and Vivo follows the sudden deceleration of a once-booming Chinese smartphone market. Smartphone shipments enjoyed 62.5 percent year-over-year growth in 2013, but the figure had dropped to 2.5 percent last year. The average selling price of smartphones in China rose from $207 to $257 during that time, IDC said.

Both Oppo and Vivo started shipping smartphones in 2011, but the companies have different strategies. Oppo's primary focus is domestic but it has expanded aggressively into Southeast Asia and, more recently, the Middle East, Africa and other Asian markets. The vendor leverages channel partnerships and big marketing spends to access foreign markets, and nearly 20 percent of its shipments were sent outside of China last year.

Vivo first expanded to Southeast Asia and India in 2014, on the other hand, and only 10 percent of its shipments went to foreign markets last year. Its X5Pro model is one of the most expensive models in China, IDC said, with a price tag of roughly $300.

"Along China's maturing smartphone adoption curve, the companies most aligned with growth are those with products serving increasingly sophisticated consumers," IDC's Melissa Chau said in a press release. "Lenovo benefited with ASPs (average selling prices) below $150 in 2013, and Xiaomi picked up the mantle with ASPs below $200 in 2014 and 2014. Now Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, which play mainly in the sub-$250 range, are positioned for a strong 2016.

"These new vendors would be well-advised not to rest on their laurels, though, as this dynamic smartphone landscape has shown to even cult brands like Xiaomi that customer loyalty is difficult to maintain," Chau added.

Globally, Samsung shipped 81.9 million smartphones during the quarter and claimed 24.5 percent of the worldwide market, down 0.6 percent from the previous year, IDC said. Apple saw its sales drop to 51.2 million, down substantially from 61.2 million during the previous year, but held on to second with a 15.3 percent market share.

Huawei, meanwhile, saw 58.4 percent growth year over year, shipping 27.5 million smartphones during the latest quarter to claim an 8.2 percent market share.

For more:
- see this IDC press release

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