The Update shows a final 2017 ranking of the top smartphone leaders in terms of unit shipments. As shown in Figure 1, 9 of the top 12 smartphone suppliers were headquartered in China. Two South Korean companies (Samsung and LG) and one U.S. supplier (Apple) were the other leaders.
Samsung’s total smartphone unit sales were up by 2% in 2017 to 317 million units, slightly outpacing the total smartphone market that grew by 1%. Meanwhile, orders for new Apple iPhones fell 7% in 2016, much worse than the 4% growth rate exhibited for the worldwide smartphone market. However, Apple rebounded somewhat in 2017 with its total smartphone unit shipments being flat last year.
It appears that the up-and-coming Chinese producers like Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi are giving a serious challenge to Samsung and Apple for smartphone marketshare. It should be noted, however, that Samsung and Apple still hold a commanding share of the high-end smartphone segment—that is, smartphones priced more than $200.
The number four and five ranked smartphone suppliers on the list are owned by the same China-based parent company—BBK Electronics. Combined handset unit shipments from these two companies were 213.1 million in 2017, just 2.7 million less than second-ranked Apple.
Overall, there was very little middle ground with regard to smartphone shipment growth rates among the top 12 suppliers in 2017. As shown, four of the top 12 companies registered double-digit unit growth while the other eight companies logged 2% or less increases and four of those displayed a double-digit decline. Three Chinese smartphone suppliers (Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo) saw their shipments surge at least 24% in 2017. Xiaomi displayed the highest growth rate of any of the top-12 smartphone suppliers (73%). Meanwhile, another three Chinese suppliers (LeEco/Coolpad, ZTE, and TCL) saw their smartphone shipments fall by more than 20% last year.
Combined, the nine leading smartphone suppliers based in China shipped 626 million smartphones in 2017, an 11% increase from 565 million smartphones that these nine companies shipped in 2016. The top nine Chinese smartphone suppliers together held a 42% share of the worldwide smartphone market in 2017, up four points from the 38% share these companies held in 2016 and eight points better than the 34% combined share these companies held in 2015.
IC Insights projects smartphone shipments in 2018 will rise 2%, to 1.53 billion units. Moreover, smartphone unit shipments are forecast to grow at low single-digit annual rates through 2021.
IC Market Drivers 2018—A Study of Key System Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuitsexamines several of the largest existing and potential new applications that are expected to help fuel the market for ICs through 2021.
IC Market Drivers is divided into two parts. Part 1 provides a detailed forecast of the IC industry by system type, by region, and by IC product type through 2021. In Part 2, the IC Market Drivers report examines and evaluates key existing and emerging end-use applications that will support and propel the IC industry through 2021, including the automotive market, smartphones, Internet of Things, personal computing (desktop, notebooks, tablets), and servers and cloud computing. The 2018 IC Market Drivers report is priced at $3,690 for an individual-user license and $6,790 for a multi-user corporate license.