Apple and Samsung Stumble as Smartphone Market Soars

May 23, 2017

Apple and Samsung might be the world's most popular smartphone makers, but their slices of the market share are on the decline.

Samsung was the world's top smartphone maker in the first quarter with 78.7 million shipments worldwide, research firm Gartner announced on Tuesday. While that was enough to give Samsung (ssnlf) 20.7% of the market, its shipments were down from 81.2 million and 23% market share during the same period last year. Gartner said the decline was due in part to "fierce competition" in lower-end smartphones.

Apple's (aapl) unit shipments were actually up during the period from 51.6 million last year to 52 million this year. However, its market share fell from 14.8% in the first quarter of 2016 to 13.7% last quarter. It was due in part to the smartphone market growing at a faster rate than Apple's iPhone shipments, as well as increased competition from China-based foes that are bundling higher-end features into smartphones that are more affordable than those from Apple and Samsung, according to Gartner.

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In fact, China-based smartphone makers Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, which rounded out the top five, all saw their shipments jump year-over-year. Huawei, for instance, grew its shipments from 28.9 million last year to 34.2 million in 2017. The company's market share jumped from 8.3% in 2016 to 9% in 2017. Oppo had the strongest year-over-year growth, with shipments nearly doubling from 15.9 million last year to 30.9 million this year. The company's market share similarly grew 3.5 percentage points to 8.1% in the first quarter. Vivo was at the bottom of the top five with 25.8 million shipments and 6.8% share. Last year, Vivo's market share stood at 4% on 14 million unit shipments.

Gartner releases its smartphone tracker each month. The research firm's data comes from a variety of data points, including retail sales estimates, and provides a snapshot of industry trends at any given time.

The research firm's data shows the smartphone market is generally alive and well. In the first quarter, all smartphone makers shipped 380 million smartphones worldwide, a jump from 348.2 million during the first quarter of 2016. Vendors also benefited from what Gartner said was a higher average selling price on smartphones. While the research firm didn't say what the average consumer spends on a smartphone, it did say that it's seeing trends of customers willingly spending more for better features.

Moving beyond hardware, Gartner also revealed that Android continues to be the dominant mobile operating system with 86.1% market share, up from 84.1% share in the first quarter of 2016. Apple iOS was able to capture 13.7% share last quarter, but that was down from a 14.8% share it had in the prior year.

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