Huawei Catches Up With Samsung, Apple in Smartphone Market: Gartner

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of market share last year, following the problems encountered by the two sector giants, the Gartner consultancy group said on Wednesday.

Huawei Catches Up With Samsung, Apple in Smartphone Market: Gartner

Over the year as a whole, the Chinese maker saw its sales leap by 26.7 percent, while the South Korean and US rivals both saw their sales decline by 4.3 percent, Gartner said in a study.

As result, Huawei was able to increase its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, while Samsung saw its market share shrink by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple’s contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent.

“Chinese makers succeeded in winning market share over last year and Huawei now seems to be the main rival to the two giants, even if the gap remains large,” Gartner analyst Annette Zimmermann told AFP.

Among the other Chinese smartphone makers are Oppo, BBK Communication Equipment (with its OnePlus and Vivo brands), ZTE, Xiaomi and Lenovo.

“We’re seeing a very real progression compared with earlier years, when the number three maker and the others had struggled to hold on to a market share of more than four percent,” Zimmermann said.

“Huawei looks likely to strengthen its position again this year,” she added.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 alone, the launch of the iPhone 7 and Samsung’s difficulties with its Galaxy Note 7 model enabled Apple to take top slot in the market with a share of 17.9 percent or 77 million units sold.

Samsung sold 76.8 million smartphones in the October-December period, giving it a market share of 17.8 percent, while Huawei sold 40.8 million phones or a market share of 9.5 percent.

“Preliminary data for the current quarter suggest that Samsung will overtake Apple again. But it’s remarkable that Apple can hold on to that sort of share of the market with a closed eco-system,” the analyst said.

With regard to the different operating systems, Android, which is used by the large majority of smartphone makers, commands a market share of 81.7 percent, while Apple’s iOS operating system of its iPhones and iPads accounts for 17.9 percent of the market.

Smartphone market is getting insanely competitive

Xiaomi launched a new device Redmi Note 3 at Rs 9,999.Chinese mobile major Xiaomi has said that business in India is getting “insanely competitive” at a time when compatriots such as Vivo, Lenovo,Huawei, Gionee and Oppo are expanding rapidly n the market. The chase for buyers has further heightened with top-seller Samsung rolling out an expanded portfolio and local heavyweights like Micromax, Intex and Lavalaunching lower-priced smart devices.

On Thursday, Xiaomi launched a new device Redmi Note 3 at Rs 9,999. “Xiaomi is planning to rapidly expand in India as this is the second-biggest market for the phone maker after home market China,” Hugo Barra, global VP for the company, told TOI. Xiaomi had in August last year partnered Taiwanese contract-maker Foxconn as it began local assembly of phones at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, and at present, about 75% of phones it sells are being sourced locally .

Barra has an opinion on the proposed launch of the budget smartphone Freedom 251(for Rs 251) by Noida-based Ringing Bells. “It seems unlikely… the business model does not appear to be viable,” he said, adding that a definitive comment cannot be made as he is not privy to the Indian company’s business plans.

The company, which made its debut in India around middle of 2014, has been finding going to be tough at a time when it has also been upstaged by Huawei in China. Industry analysts say Xiaomi, founded by Lei Jun, has been slow in introducing newer products in a business where rivals constantly upgrade their devices and rapidly bring in new devices.

Barra, however, counters the argument. “Why should we discontinue a product when it’s doing well? Also, it impacts our supply chain.”

However, competition is something that worries Barra. “The smartphone market is getting insanely competitive. But we know it too well. These are the same players we have seen in China. As far as Xiaomi is concerned, our strategy in any market is to focus on building incredible products.” Barra said Xiaomi will launch its Mi5 handset in India in the next one month.