The mobile phone market may have seen flat growth year over year in the third quarter of this year in China, but the top five smartphone manufacturers were able to see their market share grow more than 10 percent combined.
That’s according to news from International Data Corp. (IDC), which is out with its assessment of Q3 that ended in September. The market research firm found that, combined, the top five smartphone manufacturers saw their market share increase to 76 percent in the third quarter, compared to 65.2 percent in the same period a year ago. The firm noted that Xiaomi of China saw good year-over-year growth, while Apple came back from declines in the Chinese market in the past six quarters.
“Even though the market is getting saturated in China, smartphone companies are still aggressive in trying to steal market share from their competitors. OPPO and Vivo used to be the main companies with aggressive sponsorship of key television programs. However, we see increased aggression from Huawei and Xiaomi in this aspect in recent months. Xiaomi began sponsoring three popular entertainment programs on television. With competition heating up, top smartphone players will need to either maintain or increase their marketing activities in the coming quarters. The implication for smaller players who do not have a high marketing budget is that it will be harder to thrive or survive in the saturated China smartphone market. The smaller smartphone companies that focus on the Tier 3 to Tier 5 cities will continue to depend on the subsidy from operators to target a very niche consumer segment,” Tay Xiaohan, research manager, Client Devices Research, IDC Asia/Pacific, said in a press release highlighting the results.
According to IDC, OPPO is the only Chinese handset maker of the top companies that can drive sales via two models. What’s more, IDC found OPPO and Vivo are strong in the offline space, while Huawei has its Honor brand focused on the online space and Huawei-branded phones focused on the offline space.
Xiaomi started out strong in the online space and has been trying to expand into the offline space. Other than increasing its number of Mi Home stores, the company has also offered models with different storage space and colors in the offline channel to differentiate and better market them to retailers, IDC said.
Apple bounced back during the third quarter in China, thanks to the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.