China Insights

OPPO loses market share for first time

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Mobile 15.05.2017 / 08:40


OPPO’s share is only 11.3% in first quarter of 2017. About 30% of smartphone users in urban China plan to buy Huawei as their next phone.

In the first quarter of 2017, smartphones at the middle price range contributed a bigger sales market share in urban China, especially those between 2,000 yuan and 3,000 yuan, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel ComTech data. The shares of smartphones below 1,000 yuan and in premium sector both decreased.

OPPO, which took the Chinese market by storm in 2016, occupied 11.3% of all smartphones sold in urban China in Q1. Though it is still the third largest smartphone brand in China after Huawei (30%) and iPhone (12.4%), it’s the first time that its market share has dropped.

“The strength of OPPO and Vivo is in their brick-and-mortar presence, which accounts for 86% of their smartphone sales. This contrasts with most other brands in the market who all make at least a third of their sales online,” said Yaguang Liang, Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech China. “During China’s Spring Festival, most logistics workers went back to their hometowns. So as expected, sales coming from online channel dropped to 31% in first quarter. However, even against this backdrop, OPPO still lost sales share.

 “Because this is the first time that we saw OPPO’s market share dropped, we should not jump to the conclusion that OPPO has reached its high water mark. It’s too early to say whether this is a temporary dip or a turning-point of the development of smartphone market landscape in China,” Yaguang said.

Huawei, together with its sub-brand Honor, enjoyed a healthy first quarter with their models performing strong in 2,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan range. Together, they warded off the challenges from OPPO and Vivo and accounted for 30% of all smartphones sold in first quarter – a level that no other brands has reached but Nokia. With improvement in their brand images, now 30% of smartphone owners in urban China said their next smartphone will be a Huawei (Honor) phone.

The decline of Xiaomi has accelerated and many brands are planning to lure away its existing user base to fuel their own growth.

Samsung fell to sixth place behind Xiaomi, Meizu and Vivo, at just 4% of total urban sales in China.

The first quarter of 2017 produced the lowest iOS share in China since the second quarter of 2014 with 12.4% of smartphone sales. Android continued to make year-on-year gains with 87.2% of smartphone sales.

Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: “For iOS, this represents a 9.1 percentage point drop from the first quarter of 2016 in China. At the same time, iPhone 7 remained the best-selling device in urban China with 3.8% of a market that has become increasingly fragmented.”

In EU5, Android accounted for 76.3% of smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2017, nearly on par with a year earlier at 75.6%. iOS posted a 1.9 percentage point gain to reach 20.7% of smartphone sales.

Europe’s big five markets include Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

“Across EU5, Chinese brands have grown over the past year to account for 22% of smartphone sales,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “Huawei, the second largest Android brand across France, Italy, Germany and Spain, has also started to make its presence known in Great Britain, where it has historically struggled. Huawei accounted for 6.3% of smartphone sales in Great Britain in the first quarter of 2017, an all-time high, making it the third-largest Android brand in that market behind Samsung and Sony.”

In the United States, Android accounted for 59.2% of smartphone sales, compared to 63.4% a year earlier, while iOS captured 38.9% of sales, up year-on-year from 33.7%. The drop in Android share has been driven largely by lower sales of Samsung and Moto phones, the largest and third-largest Android-based brands in the market.

“While Chinese vendors are enjoying growth in places like EU5, Latin America, and India, the same cannot be said in the US, which remains dominated by Apple (39%), Samsung (30%), and LG (12%),” Guenveur said. “The first quarter 2017 decline in Samsung smartphone sales was likely due to buyers anticipating the April 21 release of the new Samsung Galaxy S8. We expect to have launch results for the S8 within the next 60 days. We should also learn if the S8 will overcome Samsung’s troubles with the Note 7, and whether the S8 will push the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus out of the top-selling spot.”

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Source: Kantar Worldpanel

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