Samsung's lead shrinks in Q1 2018 as global smartphone shipments return to growth

Samsung's lead shrinks in Q1 2018 as global smartphone shipments return to growth
After seeing a relatively sharp decline of 6.3% in Q4 2017, sales in the first quarter of 2018 have bounced back, marginally improving over 2017’s numbers, according to a new report by Gartner. Specifically, Q1 2018 saw year on year growth of 1.3%, with total smartphone shipments reaching 383.5 million units. 

Leading the pack, as usual, was Samsung, with total shipments of 78.56 million, a small decline of 0.21 million when compared to Q1 2017. Ultimately, though, considering the overall growth of the segment, Samsung’s market share dropped 0.3% to 20.5%. The South Korean giant’s decline is attributed to increased competition in the mid-tier market. Furthermore, it’s noted that demand for flagship smartphones continued to drop throughout the three-month period, something that would fall in line with the weaker Galaxy S9 sales that have previously been reported. However, rival Apple once again managed to buck the trend throughout the quarter, with its shipments growing just under 3 million to 54 million.

In terms of big winners throughout the period, Huawei and Xiaomi saw the biggest increase in shipments. Huawei’s increased presence in global markets led to a growth of over 6 million units to a total of 40.4 million units, while Xiaomi’s aggressive pricing and an increase in demand for low-cost smartphones allowed it to more than double its shipments, adding an extra 16 million units during the period. This equated to a total of 28 million and 7.4% market share.

Overall, smartphone shipments are expected to continue experiencing minimal growth going forward but considering the increased competition and the inability to grow in major markets such as China, Samsung’s lead over global manufacturers could continue to shrink as brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi utilize more aggressive strategies.


source: Gartner

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29 Comments

1. Newguy

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 04, 2018

Samsung needs to cut down on their gimmicky features, because the lower end phones don't have the proper harware to run them properly anyways... and it needs to use its mass production muscles, and cut down the prices, while offering the saved money from software development for better hardware, in order to compete with Hwawei and Xiaomi.... The later 2 are gaining market simply by selling things cheaply...

9. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

What Samsung has to do right now is STOP copying others and embrace something new for a change, like a new software strategy (UI overhaul, modern looking Apps etc) or a new hardware strategy like new Cameras something like that. They say they pour billions in to R & D but where are the results?? They can go for an entire new design too for their flagships. But sadly they don't do any of this stuff, they just incrementally copy others and just keep on swinging hoping they'd hit somebody......lol Look at Huawei, they have some awesome hardware + software and all that came very recently too. Why can't Samsung do something different and innovative?

10. toukale

Posts: 599; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

What you are describing won't help Samsung one bit. You are making the same argument some have made forever about Apple. Just about every analysts said Apple needed to drop their prices back in 2012/13. Apple did no such thing and look at them 5/6 years later, not much has change. All the Chinese vendors are beating Samsung on price, that's it. They are offering the same products at a better value. There is no magic to anything Huawei and the rest of the Chinese oem's are doing. They are all using the same commoditized OS (Android) and hardware. The only thing they can differentiate on is price, UI's makes very little difference to the average users. Only folks on forums seems to care about that and they are in the minority last time I checked. To me Samsung can't seem to make up its mind on what it wants to be and they are losing on all front as a result.

15. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 648; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

I also agree that Samsung can only compete on price level right now because also the hardware development has become predictable. Every OEM knows what the next developments are on hardware side (in-screen fingerprint sensor, larger camera sensors...) because they all are buying from the same suppliers. If Samsung wants to differentiate, they need to develop exclusive hardware like Apple does. However, this is difficult because Samsung is not selling enough premium flagship phones to justify the investment. I agree with you that Samsung needs to decide what kind of OEM it wants to be. I recommend to focus on the premium side of the market and leave the low and mid end range behind.

18. MINDoSOUL

Posts: 321; Member since: Feb 28, 2014

On the contrary, it's the other way around. the Mid & poor income demographics are growing exponentially which makes them the better market to target if they had to choose between them but i think they need to maintain what they are doing focusing on both premium and mid range markets with more focus on the mid range market. Samsung needs to offer more great value for money devices and market them like crazy in growing young demographic economies like India,Pakistan,Nigeria and the rest of Africa and Middle east. China is no more possible for foreign brands to grow in because of the fierce competition from local brands that's why most of the foreign brands are getting out of it or lowering their operations there.

11. toukale

Posts: 599; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Duplicate post, WTH?

13. sissy246

Posts: 6907; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

What you need to do is, REALIZE THEY ALL COPY so don't make it sound like only Samsung copies. When will you learn that when they ALL copy it only benefits us to have more in what ever brand we like the most.

20. AxelFoley

Posts: 536; Member since: May 30, 2017

Did you type this on your iphone with: copied pull down notifications copied multi tasking cards copied large screen copied power saving mode copied NFC payments copied wireless charging copied fast charging copied water resistance copied one-handed mode Or on your ipad pro with: copied keyboard cover copied digital stylus copied split screen to be continued.....

22. ChicagoBorn

Posts: 87; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

You try to hard go look at your Samsung phone before the original iPhone was released and then look at them after. Samsung wouldn’t of been where it is now if it weren’t for apple and that’s why they lost the lawsuit.

28. AxelFoley

Posts: 536; Member since: May 30, 2017

You're not trying hard enough. There is a possibility that my Samsung phone was the F600, announced at nearly the same time as the iphone . I did have the LG Prada, Apple wouldn't have been where it is without it winning the iF Design award 6 months before the iphone was announced.

2. Newguy

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 04, 2018

Samsung needs to cut down on their gimmicky features, because the lower end phones don't have the proper harware to run them properly anyways... and it needs to use its mass production muscles, and cut down the prices, while offering the saved money from software development for better hardware, in order to compete with Hwawei and Xiaomi.... The later 2 are gaining market simply by selling things cheaply...

3. midan

Posts: 2488; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Samsung can't drop the prices, that's the thing and why they will eventually lose the market for Apple and those Chinese companies.

4. toukale

Posts: 599; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Well Samsung is in a tough spot for sure. Unlike Apple, they are just a hardware oem with no OS service business. Apple makes money all over the place, they make money when they sell you a device, they also make money when you buy apps, and they finish it up with Apple Care and now they've added subscription services. It's why they are so profitable, Samsung only makes money when they sell you a device, not after and never mind a subscription service, they tried that and failed. In which case Samsung is no better than all the rest of the android oem's. The one thing Samsung had over all the rest of the Android oem's was scale, but that is slowly going away because mobile tech have mature and very little if anything nowadays are new breakthrough techs. Now, Samsung will have to compete on price and that is where they are losing to the new Chinese new comers. They are so focus on Apple they can't see where the real threat is coming from. Apple is the least of their problems. Same can be said to Google and Microsoft, Apple's business model makes them a very predictable competitor. A competitor that seems to focus on the higher end of any market, which means there is a whole 80% plus of the market that's available for the taking, but everyone seems envious of Apple's revenue and profits.

21. AxelFoley

Posts: 536; Member since: May 30, 2017

"Well Samsung is in a tough spot for sure." Cool story, bro. https://www.sammobile.com/news/samsung-q1-2018-earnings-beat-market-expectations/

23. ChicagoBorn

Posts: 87; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

You try to hard bro

24. ChicagoBorn

Posts: 87; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

We’re talking about losing market share. Obviously Samsung as a whole is fine.

25. mootu

Posts: 1334; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

losing market share? They only sold 200,000 less units, hardly disastrous when you are selling almost 80 million units per quarter.

29. AxelFoley

Posts: 536; Member since: May 30, 2017

So, we're talking about market share based on my reply to a comment that says ," Apple makes money all over the place", "they are so profitable", "Samsung only makes money when they sell you a device". You should try harder at reading and then you may start knowing what you're talking about.

14. sissy246

Posts: 6907; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

People are also going to get smart one day and stop paying so much for the iphones too. Why do you think the rumors are going around that apple will drop prices. Because they know those Chinese companies are getting closer every year.

16. midan

Posts: 2488; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

People will always going to buy iPhone, they buy it for ecosystem and OS. We pay the price to get iOS experience. It doesn't matter If the chinese companies getting closer If Apple still collecting all the money in the market. Those Android companies can fight for the leftovers, in the end Samsung is the one who going to lose.

17. sissy246

Posts: 6907; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Then why is there talk apple will lower prices. Only one reason, the cheaper OEMs are getting closer and even apple is losing customers to them.

19. midan

Posts: 2488; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Apple userbase is growing, not getting smaller. Also what talk there's been about Apple lowering iPhone prices? I only heard that upcoming X might be cheaper, it makes sense because part used in X are now cheaper.

6. worldpeace

Posts: 3077; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Don't forget that S9 released mid-march and only have 2 weeks of sales in Q1 report.

7. midan

Posts: 2488; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

We should forget that, numbers would look better. They sold less than year ago which didn't had Any S8 sales. Shows how difficult situation for Samsung is. Even with the launch peak sales they couldn't beat their last year number

26. mootu

Posts: 1334; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Well in Q1 the iPhone X had 3.6% of worldwide sales. In Q1 Samsungs S9 and S9+ had combined 3.2% of sales with only 2 weeks of the quarter on the market. Thats actually pretty good numbers for only 2 weeks.

8. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Pre orders were up from March 1st. So technically people had the chance of buying that since March 1st.

12. Loubielou

Posts: 603; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Stop Copying Apple with your Pricing of Phones Samsung or you will be more Trouble than you Think,o.k your phones might look good,but consumers can"t afford to purchase them soon

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