China Insights

OPPO closes market share gap with Huawei

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Mobile 12.01.2017 / 11:45

Oppo R9 thin 2 col

Does this mean the next smartphone market power shift is coming?

The latest smartphone OS sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that OPPO accounted for 12.9% of smartphone sales in urban China during three months ending November 2016, 1.1 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period.

“Huawei represented 25% of all sales, but its share declined 3.1 percentage points from the three-month period ending October 2016, marking only its second period of decline in more than two years,” said Tamsin Timpson, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. The combination of OPPO’s rise and Huawei’s decline is “signalling the first potential shift in the market since Huawei overtook both Apple and Xiaomi in the second quarter of 2015.”

The competition at individual smartphone model also gets even fiercer. iPhone 7 became the best-selling device at 6.6%, pushing OPPO R9 to second place at 4.7%. This is lifting iOS’ market share to 19.9%, 2.8 percentage points higher over the previous period. However, it’s still lower when compared with 25.3% a year ago.

“Nearly 80% of all smartphones sold in urban China during the three months ending November 2016 were Android, as local brands continued to dominate the market,” said Tamsin.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech carries out monthly panel surveys among Chinese urban mobile phone users to monitor the market share changes of various brands. In China, the panel size is 22,000. Panellists were recruited from tier-1 to 5 cities and each year more than 260,000 surveys were conducted. The nature of the research methodology means it can cover the influence of smartphones sold in other countries ended up in China and avoid the confusion caused by unsold phones stocked at distributors’ warehouses.

In the United States, hot sales of iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6s dealt a heavy blow to Android, which recorded the sixth consecutive period of decline, at 55.3% of all smartphone sales, down from 60.4% in the same period a year earlier.

In the US at the beginning of the holiday period, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s were the top three most popular smartphones, for a combined 31.3% share. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge were the fourth and fifth best-selling phones in the US, with Samsung capturing 28.9% of smartphone sales.

“Verizon booked nearly a quarter of all US smartphone sales during the Black Friday period, playing a vital role for all brands, including Apple and Samsung,” reported Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “Buyers were motivated by Verizon’s promotions on both Apple and Samsung’s top phones, including offers of free iPhone 7, 7 Plus and Galaxy S7 phones after trade-in and purchase requirements were met.”

Although Android decreased in the US over the past year, the brand new Pixel phone by Google made strong gains, rising to 1.3% of sales in the three months ending November 2016, with more than half of that business done through Verizon.

iOS and Android both made gains across EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy), largely due to the decline of Windows. The best showing for iOS was in UK where it was up 9.1 percentage points for the year ending in November 2016.

“In the EU5 countries, Android accounted for 72.4% of smartphone sales during this period, with iOS at 24.6%, a strong year-on-year uptick for both ecosystems as Windows’ share declined to 2.8%,” explained Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “For Android, this represented a 2.8 percentage point decline from the October period, while strong sales of iPhone 7 boosted iOS.

“The holiday period is always strong for Apple, but it remains to be seen if demand for the latest devices will level out in the first quarter of 2017.”

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

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