Apple Was the Biggest Smartphone OEM in Q4 2017

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The latest numbers from analytics firm Strategy Analytics point to Apple’s iPhone lineup outselling Huawei and Samsung smartphones during Q4 2017. This was despite the huge 16 percent decline in smartphone shipments in China and the overall smartphone market shrinking by 9 percent during the period.

Despite the impressive performance and an increase in average selling price of iPhone nearing $800 thanks to the $999 iPhone X, Apple saw the total iPhone shipment decline by 1 percent YoY to 77.3 million units. More worryingly perhaps, iPhone shipments have now declined in 5 out of the last 8 quarters. The analytics firm believes that for Apple to expand its shipment, it will need to launch a cheaper iPhone instead of a more expensive one.

On Apple’s part, it claimed that the slight decline in iPhone shipment for Q4 2017 was due to the period comprising of 13 weeks instead of 14 weeks as in 2017.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2017, slipping 1 percent annually from 78.3 million in Q4 2016. Despite robust iPhone X demand and an iPhone average selling price approaching an incredible US$800, we note global iPhone volumes have actually declined on an annual basis for 5 of the past 8 quarters. If Apple wants to expand shipment volumes in the future, it will need to launch a new wave of cheaper iPhones and start to push down, not up, the pricing curve.”

Apple’s key rival Samsung also saw its shipments decline by 4 percent annually, though it shipped 74.4 million smartphones in Q4 2017. Despite the decline in shipment though, Samsung shipped a staggering 317.5 million smartphone in 2017 which puts it far ahead of Apple and other Chinese OEMs.

Competition among Chinese OEMs also remained intense during Q4 2017. OPPO which was once growing at a staggering rate has seen its growth stall completely. Xiaomi, on the other hand, saw its shipments increase by 87 percent annually, though its growth in 2018 is expected to slow down due to stiff competition from Huawei. As for Huawei’s goal to become the world’s top or second largest smartphone OEM, the company needs to crack the U.S. smartphone market which seems unlikely given how AT&T and Verizon had to back out from selling the Mate 10 in the country due to political pressure.

[Via Strategy Analytics]