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2016 global smartphone sales: Samsung and Apple lead the pack, but Oppo and Vivo sneak into the top five

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2016 global smartphone sales

“Oh, I wish it could be First Quarter Smartphones Sales Figures Release Day every day!” That’s right, if you enjoy the slightly nerdy game of picking over the minutia of mobile phone market-share changes, you’ve come to the right place, as IDC has just published the data for the first quarter of 2016. And while nominally it looks like good news for Samsung and Apple, which maintain first and second place respectively, the real story here is the phenomenal growth of Chinese manufacturers.

Let’s get Apple and Samsung out of the way first: Samsung shipped a whopping 81.9 million units, and Apple managed an impressive 51.2 million. That gives them a combined market share of 39.8% – 24.5% and 15.3% respectively.

The remaining three slots, however, are taken up with Chinese manufacturers. Huawei shipped 27.5 million units, nabbing 8.2% of the market; Oppo pushed out 18.5 million handsets, giving them 5.5%; and Vivo sent out 14.3 million units, for 4.3% of the market.

The good news for other manufacturers – subject to an extremely “glass half-full” filter – is that there’s still 42.2% of the market to fight over.

But you need phenomenal growth to push into the top list now, and that’s what each of the Chinese manufacturers demonstrated. Huawei made a year-on-year improvement of 58.4%, Oppo 153.2% and Vivo 123.8% – the latter two pushing fellow Chinese brands Lenovo and Xiaomi out of the top five.

By contrast, Samsung and Apple actually lost market share – albeit from a much higher starting point. Samsung’s share of the market fell 0.6%, while Apple’s dropped 16.3%.

Explaining the shift in Chinese buying habits, Melissa Chau, senior research manager at IDC, explained: “Along China’s maturing smartphone-adoption curve, the companies most aligned with growth are those with products serving increasingly sophisticated consumers. Lenovo benefited with ASPs below US$150 in 2013, and Xiaomi picked up the mantle with ASPs below US$200 in 2014 and 2015. Now Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, which play mainly in the sub-US$250 range, are positioned for a strong 2016.”

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