Press Release

Egham, UK, May 19, 2016 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Grew 3.9 Percent in First Quarter of 2016

Chinese Smartphone Vendors in the Top Five Garnered 17 Percent

Apple Registered First Double-Digit Decline

Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 349 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a 3.9 percent increase over the same period in 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. (see Table 1). Smartphone sales represented 78 percent of total mobile phone sales in the first quarter of 2016.

Smartphone sales were driven by demand for low-cost smartphones in emerging markets and for affordable 4G smartphones, led by 4G connectivity promotion plans from communications service providers (CSPs) in many markets worldwide.

"In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands' long-standing business models to increase their share," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands. Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2015, and represented 11 percent of the market. In the first quarter of 2016, there were three Chinese brands – Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi – and they achieved 17 percent of the market."

Oppo had the best performance in the quarter, moving into the No. 4 position with unit sales growth of 145 percent. Like Huawei and Xiaomi, Oppo saw strong growth in China, taking share from players such as Lenovo, Samsung and Yulong. Huawei saw strong smartphone demand in Europe, the Americas and Africa, while Xiaomi and Oppo saw their smartphone sales in emerging Asia/Pacific rise by 20 percent and 199 percent, respectively.

Table 1

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 1Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Company

1Q16

Units

1Q16 Market Share (%)

1Q15

Units

1Q15 Market Share (%)

Samsung

81,186.9

23.2

81,122.8

24.1

Apple

51,629.5

14.8

60,177.2

17.9

Huawei

28,861.0

8.3

18,111.1

5.4

Oppo

16,112.6

4.6

6,585.1

2.0

Xiaomi

15,048.0

4.3

14,740.2

4.4

Others

156,413.4

44.8

155,561.4

46.3

Total

349,251.4

100.0

336,297.8

100.0

Source: Gartner (May 2016)

In the first quarter of 2016, Samsung extended its lead over Apple with 23 percent market share. "Samsung's Galaxy S7 series phones and renewed portfolio positioned it as a strong competitor in the smartphone market, and more so in the emerging markets where it has been facing fierce competition from local manufacturers," said Mr. Gupta.

Apple had its first double-digit decline year on year, with iPhone sales down 14 percent. Apple's "upgrade program" in the U.S. has helped sweeten its flagship iPhone 6s and 6s plus model pricing to drive sales in its largest smartphone market. Apple is also exploring ways to refarm second-hand iPhones coming through the program in emerging markets.

Lenovo disappeared from the top five smartphone vendor ranking as well as the top 10 mobile phone vendor market in the first quarter of 2016. "Lenovo had another challenging quarter with its worldwide smartphone sales declining 33 percent," said Mr. Gupta. "Its smartphone sales fell by 75 percent in Greater China, where it faced strong competition from local brands. Lenovo is also struggling to bring synergies with Motorola's device business, managing lower costs and overheads of the two brands."

In terms of the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android regained share over iOS and Windows to achieve 84 percent share (see Table 2). "As mature smartphone markets are reaching saturation, Google is pursuing new revenue growth opportunities by expanding the reach of its platforms in cars, wearables, connected homes, immersive experiences and more," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

"Despite the Android platform’s advancements and its dominant market share, the challenges of profitability remain for a number of Android players. This will have an impact on the vendor landscape where new or more innovative business models will increasingly become key to succeed."

Table 2

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 1Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System

1Q16

Units

1Q16 Market Share (%)

1Q15

Units

1Q15 Market Share (%)

Android

293,771.2

84.1

264,941.9

78.8

iOS

51,629.5

14.8

60,177.2

17.9

Windows

2,399.7

0.7

8,270.8

2.5

Blackberry

659.9

0.2

1,325.4

0.4

Others

791.1

0.2

1,582.5

0.5

Total

349,251.4

100.0

336,297.8

100.0

Source: Gartner (May2016)

"Nokia’s announced return to the smartphone and tablet markets will not be an easy mission," said Mr. Gupta. "In today’s market it takes much more than a well-known brand to sell devices. Making good hardware won’t be an issue for Nokia, but users need a compelling reason to remain loyal to the same brand. Furthermore, that the smartphone market is slowing down makes it difficult for mobile phone vendors to reach previous levels of growth. New company HMD is entering the market at a less prosperous time, making it even more difficult for the vendor to do well in the short term," said Mr. Gupta.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Market Share Alert: Preliminary, Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 1Q16."

 

Contacts
About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior information technology (IT) leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to supply chain professionals, digital marketing professionals and technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in more than 10,000 distinct enterprises. Gartner works with clients to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual roles. Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has almost 9,000 associates, including 1,900 research analysts and consultants, operating in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.