The United States is no longer the second-largest phone market in the world


Just a few years ago, the United States was the world's biggest phone market with millions of devices being sold each year, but as China's standard of living grew and phone prices decreased, China grew to become the world's largest phone market.

This state of things has remained steady in the past couple of years, but it did change this last quarter.

As of Q3 2017, the United States has dropped further in this ranking to number three, as India overcame it to take the second spot, according to Singapore-based Canalys.

Of course, with a population of 1.38 billion for China, 1.324 billion for India and only 323 million for the United States, the US has little chance to compete in this regard.

Yet still, this latest development is not likely to stay for the next quarter. It was this particular quarter when low-cost phone maker Xiaomi entered India with more models that contributed to the growth. Xiaomi shipped 9.2 million phones in India in Q3 2017, up 290% compared to the same period last year. Samsung, the market leader in India, managed to ship 9.4 million, and the gap between the two companies grew narrower.

The sales data is also backed up by similar numbers posted by Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research.


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38 Comments

1. MrAnonymous

Posts: 94; Member since: May 25, 2014

but if we see the average selling price, India and China will be lower than America.. most of the people here buy phones that cost less than 15000rs(approx. $200)

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Yes, but average selling price is a different topic altogether. This is about market size.

21. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

If we are counting smartphone sales numbers average selling price is a major factor in these developing nation like India and China. Not only india but all the other countries in Southeast Asia depend on cheap smartphones. The average income is very low in these countries thus people tend to buy more budget phones which are happens to be awesome too these days.Thid exactly why Apple also produce iPhone SE for India specifically.

12. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

Not to offend but India is a poor country.

22. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That's still like... really offensive. You could've said "economically challenged" or something.

32. MrAnonymous

Posts: 94; Member since: May 25, 2014

India is poor i agree but there are billionaire politicians and stuff.. secondly the cost of the mobile phones along with the taxes are way too high in India compared to US

36. rj_78

Posts: 74; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Not a poor country. It is in development state. Here iPhone x starts at $1400 and all the way up to $1580 still people pre ordered it and pre order units finished within 10 mins. When iphone 6 was launched it was$1000. And we Indians don't have any contract system. We pay money upfront. So don't you dare call us poor. We are developing.

38. abinovator

Posts: 5; Member since: Aug 30, 2013

Then why dont u buy iPhone X from there. Starting only at $1370 for 64Gigs model..

29. Bondurant

Posts: 781; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Phones are like drugs and so eventually they end up buying 800$ phones.

3. Tziggy14

Posts: 624; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

The only major winners of this are the Chinese brands selling in India and Google who supplies Android and their services. Samsung is the biggest loser since they are losing their footing there.

4. Peacetoall unregistered

The reason samsung is losing the market is because Samsung is no longer value for money product they used to price their product quite reasonable during galaxy s2 and s3 days compared to apple iphones. One plus and xiaomi are the new winners because they understood the market very well

7. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

But Samsung still has low price phones in the same range. What many people still don't seem to get is, most countries tend to be solid supporters of their homegrown brands. Samsung had a big hold in the early days, not because of price alone. It was because they sold the only or best affordable option vs homegrown brands. Samsung is simply not the only affordable option anymore and now that homegrown brands are available, the locals will support them more. This has been the case for years. Sony has always done well in Japan with the PS and other products, due to local loyalty. Even though Microsoft came from out of nowhere and past Sony a few times in sales overall, they did not gain much traction in Japan. Apple jumped to get on China Mobile, because they are China's largest carrier. But what good is that if you are selling a phone that retails for $800+, in a country where the average income is equal to $500USD or less? Apple and Samsung are both available on Globe Telecom. They are the Philippines largest carrier. In recent years Apple has sold less then 1M total devices in a country with 1/2 the population of the USA. India has over 1B citizens, but likely only 70% can even buy a phone. Most can't buy a phone that retails for more than $250USD. How is Apple or even Samsung gonna sustain such? Even though Samsung does have lots of sub$200 phones in India, the rise of local brands is shutting Samsung out. Its not about price anymore. Its about local support for homegrown branding that many "developing countries" are now growing, are gonna be the goto OEM. We've already seen this in China with BBK Electronics.

10. Peacetoall unregistered

The local smartphone manufacturers in my country are bleeding bad nobody is interested in them. Budget conscious People always talk about xiaomi , lenovo and one plus. Samsung is good I'm personally using a mid range samsung c7 pro as it offers great user interface and feautures with quite good reasonable price. But at the same price point in my country you can get a one plus 3 t or other chinese flagship. Btw good read techie.

34. iampun33t

Posts: 136; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

There are no local smartphone manufacturers. All local companies use rebranded chinese smartphones. No one manufactures them, they do not design them. 1-2 manufacturers do use original designs but even they get their phones assembled in India but all the parts are made in China.

16. kartik.07

Posts: 73; Member since: May 04, 2015

Samsung is on whole another level compared to s2 and s3 era at that time company was getting popular in mobile business so they have to keep there prices low but now they are at the top competing with apple not with cheap chinese phones and Samsung is investing more than any one else in quality and innovation compared to any other company so that price is included in the phone cost and that all show in there flagship phones s7 edge, s8 and note 8 are one of the best phones you can get now and are almost as perfect they can get in every section.

17. Peacetoall unregistered

Just look at s7 edge price now and how affordable it is. Why can't they price it same during the launch.

5. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Seeing how those countries have 3x's or more the population of the USA, I am surprised it didnt happen sooner. But OEMs like Apple and Samsung who once dominated China, are now not the top selling brand in China. Samsung was at the top.of India for years is losing its grip their too.

6. TeriusRose

Posts: 108; Member since: May 12, 2017

Pretty much, I don't see how this is a surprise. We only have 300 million people here, compared to 1 billion + for both India and China. Now, granted it's more complicated then then that when you start getting into median household incomes and all that but in terms of size China & India are destined to outgrow us as markets just because of sheer numbers.

8. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

The USA is a "small" country when you compare it to Europe, China and India as a whole. 350M is really not a lot of people, when China's largest city Shanghai has 3 times the population. The reason Apple and Samsung had huge market-share in China and India once upon a time, is because they simply provided the best available option. In the past those cheap Nokia and other cheap phones were simply the main staple in poor countries. The reason BBK brands is taking off in China is first, because of Android. Next because now you can have a phone equal to or better than an iPhone or Galaxy branded device for less than half their retail costs. In the USA, it is reasonable to say that at least 2/3's of the country can afford a smartphone that costs more than $500. But not everyone needs such a phone. The only reason you pretty much have to buy them is, because the carriers are no longer selling very good options for cheap phones. They don't even have flip phones anymore and Samsung is the only brand I am aware of that has a 4G flip phone and it isn't even sold here yet. But the US is a rich country per se. China is not. China is rich in industry, but the jobs pay less than 1/2 what we pay on minimum wage. With such a poor economy, no one in china can really afford a fancy device from Apple or Samsung. Many who have them, bought them off the black market, stole them or sold body parts for them. Many Asian citizen rely on the fact, they may have family in places like the USA, who make good money and send money home to help their families who when buy such fancy options. Both Apple and Samsung have fell down to single digit market-share in China especially do to homegrown brands now having equal or better products for low costs. This is why Apple rushed to get into China on CM and rush to get to India, because they are about to fall to less than 5% of the total phones sold in these countries.

11. Peacetoall unregistered

In the end both apple and samsung are the losers when it comes to understanding the markets. Apple always price their iphone way too much compare to its home country. Here in India base version of iphone 8 cost 1200$ alone.

14. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

They do understand. Apple firstly doesn't care, because they pawn themselves as a luxury brand. Samsung however does sell low cost options like the Galaxy J and A in China. Again you are missing the point is, when Samsung was king in China, it is because China didn't have any local brand that provide good competition. Npw they do and all outside brands are gonna die a horrible death. I expected Samsung would die slower in China vs Apple, but this has not been the case. O assumed since because Samsung does offer sun $250 phones in China, they could stave off the competition. But one things about ALL Asian is, they support their home grown options before outsiders as a "religion" to say as an example. Most Asian don't like each other. I know the Chinese and Japanese don't like each other, but I don't know how the Chinese feel about Koreans in general. But China does need Sony or Samsung when they have BBK growing as they are. Apple is now the 3rd largets smartphone seller because these Chinese brands are offering iPhone quality or better for $300 or less. Apple can NEVER compete on that level in China. If Samsung who has product at this price is losing, then Apple doesn't stand a chance. Samsung does understand because the vast majority of people in their home country can't afford the Galaxy S and Note. Korea is small with 75M between the 2 of them. Even though Samsung is 25% of South Korea's GDP, less than 3M people per year buy their expensive phone options while most have the cheaper options. Local brand loyalty is gonna relish Apple to just Europe and USA and Samsung is gonna also be in a similar boat.

18. Peacetoall unregistered

Surely we do have one racist korean here who always cry about japan and how inhuman they are what a prick he is.

25. Chaise unregistered

"less than 3M people per year buy their expensive phone options while most have the cheaper options." Where did you get that information? As far as I know, Koreans are crazy about buying the latest and greatest each year. For example, the Note 8 is the best selling phone there.

23. TeriusRose

Posts: 108; Member since: May 12, 2017

That's what I meant by 300 million being small. I'm aware that if we're talking about individual companies, we have the 3rd largest population in the world. But yes, in comparison to China & India that's pretty small. And yep, agree on most of those points.

26. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You lost me at Europe being a country.

37. TeriusRose

Posts: 108; Member since: May 12, 2017

Some people count the EU as essentially being the same as a country. That really doesn't make sense. Now that I think about it, it doesn't make any sense to refer to the European continent being a thing either but that's another conversation.

9. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

How's Leno- err, Motorola doing in India these days? They certainly make some top notch low/midrange phones for the US.

13. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Apple & Samsung lose smartphone market share as Chinese brands continue to grow.https://9to5mac.com/2017/05/23/iphone-market-share-gartner-q1-2017/ This article says -https://www.statista.com/statistics/269487/top-5-​india-smartphone-vendors/ - Samsung once enjoyed a 30% market in India where back in 2013, nearly 1/3 of the country had phones. Now half of the country could have a phone in the coming years with near 400M having access by 2020. Samsung has fallen to 25% and is still falling as India local OEM's thanks to Android now have been able to compete on near equal footing with Apple and Samsung and they like China have no need for outside brands. At this rate, Apple is likely not to exceed selling 200-250M phones and Samsung is likely gonna be dropping from the usual 300M+ they have been selling since 2011 after 2020. If these Chinese brands from BBK start flooding India with more phones, both Apple and Samsung are gonna be in trouble. But Apple will hurt first, because for one they have NO product they offer which can compete on price. So Samsung will die slower because they do offer price conscious products that compete. Same thing in China. http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-and-samsung-are-losing-market-share-in-china-2017-8

20. Peacetoall unregistered

Android now ? You mean android one right

15. phaneendra_92

Posts: 64; Member since: Oct 12, 2013

India is not a poor country but priorities are different .... People invest less money on smartphones...

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