Smartphone shipments drop globally 3%, ZTE’s shipments drop by half

By | 3rd May 2018

  • Overall, global smartphone shipments are down 3 percent as compared to this time last year.
  • The top five smartphone vendors are still doing pretty good, with Xiaomi showing an astounding rise.
  • ZTE, however, dropped a spot on the top-ten list, and shipped half as many phones as it did last year.


The numbers are in for global smartphone shipments for the first quarter of 2018, and they’re a mixed bag. The biggest overall takeaway, via the report from the International Data Corporation, is that smartphone shipments dropped by nearly 3 percent year-over-year as compared to the first quarter of 2017.

From January through April of 2017, smartphone shipments amounted to 344.4 million units, while the same period this year amounted to 334.3 million units, a 2.9 percent decline. The most significant drop globally happened in China, which saw less than 100 million smartphones shipped this quarter, the lowest shipment number since 2013.

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However, don’t let those numbers paint a sad picture, as from a dollar value perspective the smartphone market is still on the rise, and likely will continue to be for the next several years. After all, people are only becoming more and more reliant on smartphones, so the value of the devices will only go up.

When you narrow in on the top five smartphone vendors – Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo – you see mostly good news for all except for Oppo.

smartphone shipments q1 2018 IDC

Samsung: The South Korean smartphone giant handily held the first place spot for smartphone market share with 23.4 percent. However, that’s a 2.4 percent decline from the same time last year. This is most likely due to Xiaomi taking market share from pretty much every company (more on that in a minute).

Apple: Apple’s market share rose by 2.8 percent, from 14.7 percent of the market to 15.6 percent. The company’s average selling price went way up as well, likely due to the high price point of the iPhone X.

Huawei: Huawei’s market share jumped to a new all-time high for the company at 11.8 percent, a rise of 13.8 percent as compared to last year’s 10 percent market share.

Xiaomi: As mentioned in this article published earlier today, Xiaomi’s numbers are downright incredible. The company’s market share jumped a whopping 87.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Xiaomi now owns 8.4 percent of the market as compared to 4.3 percent last year.

Oppo: Things aren’t looking as great for Chinese manufacturer Oppo, as its market share dropped by 7.5 percent year-over-year. Still, its market share still looks healthy at 7.1 percent as compared to the 7.5 percent it had this time last year.

The rest of the smartphone manufacturers around the globe like LG, Vivo, OnePlus, Google, etc., collectively lost market share big time. Outside the top five, the market share of the “others” went down 18.5 percent from 40.2 percent in 2017 to 33.7 percent in 2018. Ouch. Well, now we know where Xiaomi’s giant jump in market share is coming from!

Bad news for ZTE

The most depressing news of the first quarter this year, however, revolves around ZTE. The Chinese company’s first quarter global shipments, via The South China Morning Post, dropped by nearly half at 46 percent, from 13.3 million units to 7.2 million units.

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You probably think that the slide has to do with the American trade sanctions thrown at ZTE, but that only happened a few weeks ago and wouldn’t have made much of an impact on these numbers. That means even before ZTE’s business was virtually cut off at the knees, it was already in terrible shape.

ZTE’s global ranking dropped one place to number nine and its market share dropped from 3.6 percent to 2 percent.

You can read the full report on smartphone shipments here.

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