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Huawei, Xiaomi strong as global smartphone sales decline

Huawei, Xiaomi strong as global smartphone sales decline

As global smartphone sales recorded the first ever decline during the fourth quarter of 2017, Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi remained resilient, according to research from Gartner.

Recent statistics show that based on worldwide smartphone sales for the fourth quarter of 2017, Samsung is positioned in first place followed by Apple, Huawei and then Xiaomi.

Huawei and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the global top five to experience growth in the fourth quarter during which almost 408 million units were sold, representing a 5.6% decline compared to the same period in 2016.

Gartner found that Samsung retained first place in the period under review, even though it registered a year-on-year unit decline of 3.6% followed by Apple and "Huawei, ranked no. 3, raised its share in 2017, continuing to gain on Apple."

For 2017 as a whole, smartphone sales to end users totalled over 1.5 billion units, an increase of 2.7% from 2016, with Samsung leading, followed by Apple, Huawei, OPPO and Vivo.

Gartner also notes that global smartphone sales leader Samsung, whose significant sales volumes lean toward mid-price and entry-level models now faces extreme competition and reducing contribution.

Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, which started tracking the global smartphone market fourteen years ago, said two main factors led to the drop in Q4 2017.

"First, upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality ultra-low-cost smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones. Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones. Moreover, while demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales."

Africa also showing growth

Huawei recently revealed that it met its sales targets in Africa and is looking for other ways to continue this trend.

Likun Zhao, General Manager for Huawei Consumer Business told ITWeb Africa at the launch of the company's new PSmart mid-range device for African consumers that they paid more attention to the flagship devices in 2017, but will be making a switch to focus more on mid-tier and low-tier smartphones in 2018.

"Our performance in the high-end market was very good because at the end of last year our market share (for prices exceeding US$600) was 15.5%. At the beginning of last year it was only 7%, which means we doubled it and that is a good performance. We want to make progress within the high-end, but for the mid-tier we want to enlarge that market by bringing (in) more low-end consumers. At the same time we want to catch up on market share in the mid-tier. For the low-end we will come back and play an important role."

Gartner says Huawei's new smartphone additions, including Mate 10 Lite, Honor 6C Pro and Enjoy 7S, helped broaden the appeal of its smartphone offerings.

The research firm also found that the sale of mobile phone in the fourth quarter declined by 9.8% in Sub-Saharan Africa with smartphones in particular registering an 8.3% decrease. For South Africa the reduction in sales over the three-month period was 9% for all mobile phones and 7.2% for smartphones.

"Future growth opportunities for Huawei will reside in winning market share in emerging APAC and the US," said Gupta.

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