The global smartphone market has been on a steady decline since the start of this year owing to poor macroeconomic conditions but things seem to be stabilising now. According to the latest figures from Canalys, the third quarter of 2023 exhibited a contraction of 1%.
This doesn’t sound too encouraging, but considering that the previous quarter saw a decline of 10%, things seem to be turning for the better. The smartphone landscape, it seems, is not ready to bow out just yet.
So what’s behind this change? Regional recoveries and a growing appetite for new product upgrades have come to the rescue. The smartphone market experienced a double-digit sequential growth in Q3, establishing a foothold ahead of the anticipated sales seasons.
While it may come as no surprise to tech enthusiasts, Samsung continued to hold the top spot with a commanding 20% market share, although it did experience a slight dip compared to Q3 of the previous year. Meanwhile, Apple secured the runner-up position with a 17% market share. Xiaomi wasn’t far behind, occupying third place with a 14% market share, and it’s seeing unit shipments pick up steam, both annually and sequentially.
The fourth and fifth positions were claimed by OPPO (including OnePlus) with a 9% market share, primarily thanks to its stronghold in the Asia Pacific region, and Transsion, boasting a 9% share and notable year-over-year expansion.
Interestingly, Huawei made a remarkable resurgence outside the top five, driven by the enthusiasm generated by their new Mate series in their domestic market.
But what’s really causing the sparks to fly in this ever-competitive arena? Amber Liu, an analyst at Canalys, sheds some light on the situation. According to her, the recent releases by Huawei and Apple have electrified the market, overshadowing the flagship series renewals of many other vendors. Huawei’s new Mate series, powered by the latest Kirin chipset, has struck a chord with Chinese consumers, leading to a frenzied demand that even operators are struggling to keep up with. Meanwhile, Apple is bolstering its new iPhone 15 series, ramping up performance and adding features to keep the demand engine running at full throttle.
In the Samsung camp, a different strategy is at play, with the South Korean giant focusing on profitability by reducing its exposure in the entry-level segment. In contrast, Xiaomi and Transsion have taken full advantage of the rebound in emerging markets, seizing the opportunity with competitive products and channel engagements.
“Vendors should remain cautious about the rebound,” said Toby Zhu, Analyst at Canalys. “The global macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties brought fragility into the nascent recovery and channel operations.”
“Canalys forecasts suggest decelerating medium-to-long-term smartphone market growth. Meticulous monitoring of stock turnover and end demand is critical to avoid turbulence from high inventory,” he added.