While the smartphone market saw a flat -1% YoY growth in 2017Q3 compared to the same period last year, the share of the top five smartphone companies grew from 65.2% in 2016Q3 to 76.0% in 2017Q3. In particular, Xiaomi saw a good YoY growth while Apple finally bounced back after declining YoY for the past six quarters in China.

Though the top smartphone companies are finding it harder to launch models with significantly different specifications or new technologies that will convince consumers to upgrade their phones, they continued to gain share from companies who have declined such as Samsung and LeEco.

“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 programmes. However, we see increased aggression from Huawei and Xiaomi in this aspect in recent months. Xiaomi began sponsoring three popular entertainment programmes on television,” says Tay Xiaohan, Research Manager, Client Devices Research, IDC Asia/Pacific. “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.”

Apple’s growth this quarter was 7.3% YOY with the key activity being the launch of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Apple’s rebound shows there is still pent up demand for iPhones in China. The launch of the iPhone X is greatly anticipated in China, with market demand expected to be high especially given how different it looks from previous versions.

IDC: Apple bounces back in China with 7.3% YOY growth in Q317 smartphone unit share

Source: International Data Corporation

MacDailyNews Take: Unit share is one thing, profit share is quite another. IDC doesn’t offer that data, but we bet Apple iPhone’s profit share in China is formidable.

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Apple took 83% of smartphone market profits in calendar first quarter – May 16, 2017