The global smartphone market continued to weaken in the first quarter of 2018, with shipments down 3.4 percent on the same period in 2017 at 337 million units, Canalys reported. A 21 percent fall in China was the main cause of the market contraction, which could not be offset by growth in markets such as India and Africa. Samsung retook first place in the market, displacing Apple, which led in Q4 2017, while Chinese vendors Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo maintained their respective third, fourth and fifth positions.
Canalys said there have been no signs of recovery since the market started to decline in Q4 last year. In highly saturated markets, such as the US, China, and Western Europe, a lack of innovation has led to a lack of consumer demand, and growth will be hard to find in 2018. On the other hand, in high-growth markets, such as India and Brazil, vendors are struggling with low margins.
In Q1 Xiaomi was the fastest growing brand, more than doubling its market share to 8.4 percent from 3.7 percent a year ago. Canalys estimates that Xiaomi shipped 28.1 million smartphones in Q1, of which nearly 57 percent outside its home market China.
Huawei also improved its share of the global market, to 11.7 percent from 9.9 percent a year ago, and Apple rose to 15.5 percent from 14.6 percent. Samsung remained clearly in the lead, with a share of 23.6 percent, up from 22.9 percent in Q1 2017.