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Global smartphone market returns to double digit growth

A woman holding a smartphone

The global smartphone market has returned to double-digit growth for the first time since the second quarter of 2021. Canalys said that the segment recorded 10% growth in the first quarter of 2024, up from -13% during the same period the year before.

While the market overall was up, that wasn’t the case for individual phone-making companies. Year-over-year, Samsung’s shipments shrank 1%, Apple’s shrank 16%, and Oppo’s shrank 6%. The “winners” were Xiaomi and Transsion which recorded growth of 3% and 86% respectively.

Commenting on Xiaomi and Transsion, Canalys said:

“Mass-market brands are riding the wave of emerging markets rebounding, while cautiously stocking components. With improved inventory conditions at the outset of 2024, these brands have driven strong performances with their portfolio refreshes.

Vendors such as Xiaomi and TRANSSION experienced robust year-over-year growth of 33% and 86% respectively, driven by strong shipments of their latest models into the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America markets.

Notably, beyond the ongoing stabilization in emerging markets, these brands are ramping up production and stockpiling raw materials in anticipation of further increases in Bill of Materials (BoM) costs.

These brands will closely monitor the demand situation and will look to transfer rising costs to consumers, resulting in higher overall ASPs.”

With the vastly different performances between phone makers, the market share they each hold is quite a bit different now compared to last year. Samsung has 20% market share, down from 22%, Apple has 16% of the market share, down from 21%, Xiaomi went up to 14% from 11%, Transsion shot up to 10% from 6%, and Oppo fell from 10% to 8%.

For anyone about 30 years old or older who remembers when Android and iOS was first introduced, it may be a bit strange to hear that this segment is now considered mature so that’s why there’s not as much big growth anymore.

Despite this, OEMs are radically changing form factors and now introducing AI chips to perform LLM computing on-device. These changes could be big enough to push people out to stores to buy new phones earlier than anticipated.

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