Two smartphone manufacturers accounted for 73% of premium shipments globally in 2018

Two smartphone manufacturers accounted for 73% of premium shipments globally in 2018
According to Counterpoint Research, a premium smartphone is one that wholesales for more than $400. And last year, Counterpoint says that Apple owned the largest market share in this segment of the smartphone industry with a 51% slice of the pie globally. Samsung, which ships a lot of mid-range models in certain regions, was next with 22% of the premium market in 2018. Huawei (10%), Oppo (6%) and OnePlus (2%) round out the top five.

Apple was on top in 2017 too, although it lost 12% of its market share year-over-year. Samsung's premium market dropped 4.3% from 2017 while Huawei's rose 25%. Oppo's position in the premium segment of the smartphone market rose five-fold between 2017 and 2018, while OnePlus saw its share double over the same period.

Huawei's increase was due to the performance of its P20 and Mate 20 models, which probably will be repeated this year with the currently released P30 line and the Mate 30 range expected later this year. Oppo saw strong domestic shipments of the R15 and R17 models. This year, the company's 10x lossless zoom feature should help push its shipments in the premium category, and it is looking to sell 5G models outside of China. Oppo has said that it plans on offering its phones in the U.S. market, although no timeframe was placed on this move.

As for OnePlus, its latest model helped put the company in the top five. China, India, and Western Europe made up 80% of OnePlus 6T global shipments. Shipments in India during the fourth quarter of 2018 were the highest ever in a single quarter.


In North America, Apple and Samsung remained on top of the premium smartphone market. In third place was Google, whose Pixel handsets are the fastest growing smartphone brand in the U.S. according to Strategy Analytics. The rest of the top five in the U.S. included LG and Motorola. In China, Apple was on top followed by Huawei. In India, Samsung had the largest share in premium handsets, followed by OnePlus and then Apple.

Premium smartphone shipments in the U.S. last year rose 10% over 2017, while in China the figure was 37%. Other countries monitored by Counterpoint include Indonesia (+54%), Russia (+28%), Canada (+22%), Mexico (+22%), Thailand (+20%), India (+14%), Brazil (+13%), and Japan (+10%).

In 2018 Apple had the largest market share in the premium smartphone market worldwide

In 2018 Apple had the largest market share in the premium smartphone market worldwide

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15 Comments

1. TBomb

Posts: 1181; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Interesting to see the global shipments of premium up by double digits all over the world, yet market share was a huge decline for the top 2. Huawei, who is 2nd now, only had 2% growth. That means there's an extra brand or 2 who are becoming contenders. That's great news

2. mackan84

Posts: 189; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

I think many of these are first premium-owners and they’ll also notice that the device they’re buying will work fine for 3 years or more. So that number will probably slow down fast the next couple of years as more developing countries get their first premium. Where smartphones is today we no longer need the latest and greatest to notice the difference. Later this year I won’t even look at this years release and buy last years when I hand my current to my girlfriend.

3. cncrim

Posts: 1571; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

When come to people, it is very different and funny, Most people dont like to feel left out, sheeple, the most expensive is way to go.

5. kiko007

Posts: 7489; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Or some people just have more available income to spend on things they enjoy than you do?

10. oldskool50

Posts: 714; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Lots of people with available income also know a bad deal when they see it, which is why they have more disposable income to begin with. Wake up dude. Only 2% of the USA is considered rich. If only 2% of the US bought iPhone's, they would be gone already. In the USA anyone here with a legal job even on minimum wage can afford ANY phone on monthly payments. $50 a month is NOTHING. Many of those people spend more on drugs and other thing they want. If people want iPhone so bad, why are Apple sales falling faster than anyone else's? Even though all 3 of Samsung premium models cost $1000 EVERYWHERE, they lost less sales vs Apple. So the issue isn't price. https://howmuch.net/articles/how-much-americans-make-in-wages How many of those people really have disposable income? How many are likely living beyond their means? And since the USA is the only country which has an established system of debt, the fact is, Apple or Samsung will never garner the sales from any other country like they do in the US. The vast majority of people in the US at least, don't pay cash for anything because they can't. Because their income doesn't support it. So who are these people you referrer too? All those teens that mommy and daddy buy stuff for? So yes, maybe they have credit. But they surely don't have all this cash that you think. And if you continue to think so, even when the facts say otherwise. Then oh well, sucks to be you.

11. midan

Posts: 2574; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"If people want iPhone so bad, why are Apple sales falling faster than anyone else's? Even though all 3 of Samsung premium models cost $1000 EVERYWHERE, they lost less sales vs Apple. So the issue isn't price." "According to Counterpoint Research, a premium smartphone is one that wholesales for more than $400" Did you even read the article? we all know that only 20-30% of Samsung sales comes from those model which you are talking about.

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6489; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Personally I don't like jumping on anything as soon as it's released because there's always bugs to get sorted out by all OEM's. And getting it at a cheaper price after it's maybe a year old just sounds like a no-brainer to me.

4. User123456789

Posts: 553; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Cheap flagships like OnePlus and Xiaomi still have poor sales despite they charge half. This tells ppl still want to pay more to have more. Giant part of Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo sales come from low midranges/low ends.

13. mootu

Posts: 1408; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Apple and Samsung are available in almost every country in the world. OnePlus and Xiaomi are available in very few countries, when they do become available sales will increase massively. You seem to forget that the mass phone buying public don't even know that devices from the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi even exist.

7. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

400$ is no longer a limit for "premium".

8. iloveapps

Posts: 521; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Premium should be $700 above, and let’s see who will have the pie.

14. midan

Posts: 2574; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

I agree, $400 is too low, but using like $700 would make competition look so bad

15. TBomb

Posts: 1181; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

so One+ is not a premium phone? Pretty sure that was like $600 or something and those shipments grew. They "doubled" if you will. You gotta chill out on these comments bro. You ruin it for everyone with your quick to defend a company through logical fallacies. That goes for everyone - but you are easily one of the most prominent on this site. Yeah, I have a favorite brand for everything. I like Toyota for my cars, but I don't go on car forums talking smack about all the Ford cars and every time Tesla pushes a shipment to customers I don't go call up The Number Crunchers to build some pointless observation out of nothing. There's more important things to do in your life than win a comment war on PhoneArena.

9. oldskool50

Posts: 714; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Where are all the guys claiming Samsung is losing more business vs Apple. Looks like the fans were wrong again. For 2019, Apple sells of iPhone could be as low as 150-165M and falling. Samsung will drop from the 290M of 2018 to just 270M in 2019. Apple is sliding and they won't be able to stop it. Samsung is gonna lose more premium sells if they don't wake up and fine a way to deal with people not wanting to pay $1000 for a phone. At least Samsung has the A and M series to give them a boost. But Apple has ziltch but 3 phones that all cost $1000 outside the US. They either need to make 2 cheaper models, or they are a lost cause.

12. midan

Posts: 2574; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"Where are all the guys claiming Samsung is losing more business vs Apple." They are, they are losing when their sales are low, they are also losing when other OEMs sales are low. That's why we hear news like this. "Samsung’s upcoming Q1 earnings are going to be ugly" The Korean tech giant reported a record operating profit in Q1 2018 — $13.76 billion — but this time around that is forecast to fall by a whopping 60 percent for the current quarter of business. According to Bloomberg, that would be the company’s worst slump for four years. Following a record year is never going to be easy, but the forecast Q1 2019 operating profit of 6.1-6.3 billion KRW — around $5.5 billion — represents a pretty steep 43 percent drop on the previous quarter. That’ll give Samsung shareholders plenty to worry about."

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