Xiaomi back to top five smartphone vendor

China’s Xiaomi replaced domestic rival Vivo to occupy the spot of the world’s fifth-largest smartphone maker after its smartphone shipment grew 74.5 per cent to 92.4 million units in the year

He also said that Apple sold 77.3 smartphones in the quarter. The total number of smartphones shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter fell 6.3 percent from the year before to United States dollars 403.5 million, on the back of a slower than expected 2017 holiday quarter.

"The latest flock of posh flagships may have had consumers hitting the pause button in the holiday quarter", said Anthony Scarsella, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC. "With ultra-high-end flagships all the rage in 2017, many of these new bezel-less wonders proved to be more of a luxury than a necessity among upgraders". "Even though the company sold fewer handsets in 2017, it was able to generate more revenue through new and higher-priced models".

The reasoning for this fall, Strategy says, was a "collapse in the huge China market". It is due to the slower than normal sales in China, which experienced longer replacement rates, less operator subsidies and a lack of "wow" handset options.

However, Strategy Analytics said that, on a full-year basis, global smartphone shipments grew one percent and topped the 1.5 billion devices mark for the first time ever.

For Apple to increase its revenues while selling fewer units it must have significantly increased the iPhone average selling price (ASP), which must surely be down to the iPhone X. This is consistent with some early data on the global smartphone market.

It should also be considered that company's first fiscal quarter of 2016 was one week lengthier compared its 2017 period.

Every company except Xiaomi saw negative year-over-year growth. Huawei shipped 41.0 million units, down 9.7 percent from the 45.4 million shipped the year before.

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Overall though, the Cupertino giant's strategy should stand it in good stead for the long haul. Developed markets such as China and the USA both witnessed a decline during the quarter as consumers appeared to be in no rush to upgrade to the newest generation of higher-priced flagship devices, says IDC. The Korean giant shipped 74.1 million units in 4Q17, down 4.4% compared to the 77.5 million units from previous year. OPPO and Vivo were the fourth and fifth largest brands during the year, capturing market share of 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Global smartphone shipments slipped 0.1 percent in 2017, with iPhone shipments up 0.2 percent, according to research firm IDC.

Xiaomi shipped 28.2 million units (+89.2 percent) - driven by strong results in India. The pending arrival of their next flagship, the Galaxy S9, may represent the brand's best chance of winning over both new and current customers in 2018, it adds. Meanwhile, brands outside the top five struggled to maintain momentum as value brands such as Honor, Vivo, Xiaomi, and OPPO offered incredible competition at the low end, and brands like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei maintained their stronghold on the high end. Huawei shipped 153.1 million units, up 9.9% from the 139.3 million unit shipped in 2016.

"Huawei is performing well across Asia and Europe, but it is struggling to crack the valuable US market due to limited distribution channels", said Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics. However, Huawei's overall performance was a tad impacted by a nine percent decline in shipments in Latin America and the Middle East. Instead, it found its growth in breaking out into emerging markets like Russian Federation and India. In India, Xiaomi also launched Redmi Y-series in India and roped in Bollywood celebrity Katrina Kaif to endorse the selfie-centric smartphone series as its first product endorser. In the fourth quarter, the company officially entered the Spanish market.

Xiaomi's success comes at the expense of other low-priced rivals.

From No. 4, OPPO went to 5th Place.

Samsung stayed at the top for the full year, shipping 317.3 million phones, against 311.4 million shipped the year before. Shipments of Motorola-branded devices rose 39.5 percent over the previous year, reaching 11.4 million units in the fourth quarter. "The golden age for OPPO is coming to an end, and it is facing serious competition from Xiaomi and others".

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