Strategy Analytics: Smartphone market to rebound in 2016 with new phones from Samsung, Apple

The worldwide smartphone market is poised to rebound in later this year, Strategy Analytics predicted, as new flagship handsets from major vendors come to market.

The market research firm said global smartphone shipments essentially stagnated in the second quarter, growing just 1 percent from 338 million to 340.4 million units shipped. Increasing smartphone penetration in China and other major markets shackled sales, Strategy Analytics said, and macro-economic and political factors such as the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union have slowed growth.

"However, there are emerging signs that the global smartphone market has reached a bottom in the first half of 2016, and the growth outlook for the second half of this year is improving due to multiple big new product launches from Samsung, Apple and others," said Linda Sui, a director at Strategy Analytics, in a press release.

The forecast comes on the heels of a Canalys report earlier this week that indicated the worldwide smartphone market showed modest growth in the second quarter after a disappointing first quarter. More than 330 million smartphones were shipped during the period, Canalys said, which was flat sequentially but up slightly from the same period a year ago.

Strategy Analytics' data regarding market share also mirrored Canalys' figures: Samsung led the market with 77.6 million smartphone shipments during the quarter, Strategy Analytics said, demonstrating 8 percent growth year over year. Sales of the iPhone fell 15 percent to 40.4 million shipments as the company's worldwide market share fell from 14 percent to 12 percent.

Meanwhile, Huawei's remarkable growth has stalled as Samsung's momentum has increased and smaller players such as Oppo and Vivo have emerged, Strategy Analytics said. Oppo was the fourth-largest smartphone vendor worldwide during the second quarter, the firm said, shipping 18 million phones and claiming 5 percent of the market. Xiaomi rounded out the top five with a 4 percent market share, down from 6 percent a year ago.

So while Huawei claims to be on track to ship 140 million smartphones this year – a figure that would mark a 30 percent increase over last year – it may not be able to reach that goal if it can't score a partnership with major U.S. carrier.

"Huawei maintained third position with 9 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2016, broadly the same level as a year ago," Woody Oh of Strategy Analytics said in the announcement. "Huawei's smartphone growth rate has slowed dramatically, to just 5 percent annually in Q2 2016, compared with 52 percent annual growth in Q2 2015. Huawei is facing rising competition from OPPO, Samsung, Vivo and others, and Huawei's recent growth spurt has slammed to a halt."

For more:
- see Strategy Analytics' press release

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