Smartphone Sales Grew 6.35 Percent in Q1 2017

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile with 14 Comments

Smartphone Sales Grew 6.35 Percent in Q1 2017

With both Gartner and IDC weighing in on smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2017, a more complex picture has emerged of the health of this industry.

Note: As always, I’m averaging the sales estimates provided by both firms.

According to Gartner and IDC, device makers sold 363.65 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2017, up about 6.35 percent from the 340.55 million smartphones sold in the same quarter a year ago.

Some key findings:

Growth was better than expected. Smartphone sales growth surprised IDC, which expected to see slowing growth.

Customers are spending more per device. According to Gartner, “mobile phone buyers are spending more to get a better phone, resulting in the rise in average selling prices of types of phone.” This is, of course, another sign of strength for the smartphone market.

Chinese smartphone makers are surging. While Samsung and Apple retained the top two positions, the next three vendors—Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo—are China-based, and they are growing sales very quickly. And this is coming at a time when Samsung and Apple are sitting still, or even declining, from a market share perspective.

Samsung struggled. While Samsung should have a nice rebound this quarter because of the blockbuster Galaxy S8 launch, it had no such bump in the first quarter, with slightly declining unit sales. That said, Samsung still retains a strong lead over the competition, with about 22 percent of the market.

Apple’s sales machine flat-lined. Apple’s market share fell slightly in the quarter to 14.3 percent. Which makes sense, since iPhone sales were basically flat year-over-year.

Huawei dominates China. With 9.4 percent of the market, Huawei is threatening to overtake Apple, thanks largely to its dominant position in China.


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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Smartphone Sales Grew 6.35 Percent in Q1 2017”

  1. Ron Diaz

    Where is Windows Phone?

    Oh right, we know where....

    • wolters

      In reply to Ron Diaz:

      As a Windows Phone fan who had to move on, it pains me to see, in other forums and sites, people still saying how their Windows Phone does all that they need. The denial is so painful to watch. And believe me, I went through a small portion of that in 2015 but it is 2017 now and it is all but dead.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to wolters: Really? You can't accept that it does all I really need to do, and in a manner that I like more than either iOS or Android? I understand that those OSs do more, and their ecosystems are broader. I have an iPhone 6s and a Pixel. I still prefer my Lumia 950XL. If there was something I needed to do that it didn't, I would move my SIM.

      • Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Quote: "What's Windows Phone?"

        A reincarnated Windows Phone shall mesmerize those who hold so dearly to their iPhone and Galaxy S devices. I simply say this: watch this space - you ain't seen nothing yet that is more deserving of admiration...

        Bring it on Microsoft, in your own time of course.

  2. xxxdevxxx

    As long as the market is growing it was fatal for Microsoft to drop Lumia.

  3. Waethorn

    What? No mention of Xiaomi? Their new Ceramic Edition Mi 6 sold out the same day it launched.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to Waethorn:

      I like Xiaomi and I'm using one right now, but selling out on day 1 is mostly a matter of limited supply, My homemade crêpes run out on day 1 too.

      Xiaomi's sales are down this year.

  4. Mark from CO


    Interesting numbers. Thank you.

    The differences between the phone and PC markets are striking. 360M vs 75M in quarterly sales - almost 5X times as many phones as PCs. What a big, big difference for not so differently priced devices. But underlying this fact is perhaps an interesting psychological difference. The update cycle for phones (just over a year) is much, much faster than the PC (3 or 4 yr cycle).  We believe the myth that we have to upgrade our phones, though even from a technological perspective you don't have too. The PC market is almost the exact opposite. You buy a PC and expect to use it for years. I have a SP3 that I love, but is at least 3 years old. I think it will still be good for another couple of years.

    These differences reflect large opportunity ($$) losses for Microsoft because it does not have a credible mobile product. It also significantly affects Microsoft's financial ability to compete.

    Mark from CO

  5. obarthelemy

    Apple's PR must have a stranglehold on analysts: I can't find anywhere the beginning of a shade of an early investigation of why Apple is faring so iffily in China. And whether this could happen in other countries where Apple is strong.

    Also, I'm surprised ASP is going up. My personal ASP, and people around me except photographers, has been going down sharply. I went 550€ Galaxy Note v1, 450€ Huawei Ascend Mate, 300€ Huwei Mediapad X1, 200€ Xiaomi Mi Max. Each much better than the previous one, except camera-wise.

    Please spare a though for my initial Note, which seems to be dying of internal Flash failure, Lineage won't work on it.

  6. SvenJ

    Sort of makes sense that people are willing to spend more on smartphones. These are devices that can perform much of the same functions that their PC used to. PCs might have been upgraded periodically to keep pace and tended to cost as much as smartphones do now. If the PC I bought 10 years ago, still does the things I actually need it for, no reason not to re-direct the funds that might have been used to upgrade it towards the phone, which gets more use anyway.

  7. Awhispersecho

    Wait a minute, isn't this the market that is old news according to MS and now repeated by the WP fans that can't think for themselves? According to MS, this market is dead and it's time for the next big thing. And according to the fans that fall in line with this thinking, this is why MS is making such a great move by waiting for what's next. Cause you know, smartphones are dead. A pathetic excuse and narrative to try and validate their complete and utter failure and desertion of this space meanwhile the tech world and it's bilions of users are moving on and leaving MS behind.

    I said this a few weeks ago, ask the 3 billion people using smartphones for everything and the 400 million people that are buying them every quarter how dead this market is. Ask them how old news their smartphones and apps are. This decision by MS will be the end of them and Windows much sooner than anyone ever thought possible. We are literally looking at a world where MS, and even more amazingly, Windows, will no longer be relevant. They better throw everything behind cloud and hope they can take on Amazon because that will be all that's left of them. What an embarrassment.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Awhispersecho:

      There just wasn't enough room for a third mobile ecosystem, and they turned the ship around too slowly to make sure that they were at least the second ecosystem, so now they are where they are...same place as palm. It's an embarrassment, but isn't it to be expected of a company once they have become too big and complacent? The same thing will happen to Apple, just not any time soon. Apple "should" have become a footnote in 1997...and Bill Gates bailed them ironic.

  8. Jorge Garcia

    I feel like Apple has probably reached every sheep it can reach, market-share wise. If the "iPhone 8" (which IMO probably won't be called that all) tops out at 75M, or doesn't hit 75M at all, then that's it, their growth is officially over. All they can do is keep their VERY LOYAL existing base happy, and locked in, for as long as possible (which will be at least a decade, easily). But Google is working hard on Fuchsia, which apparently is going to be the one OS to rule them all, and IMO probably will. Presumably, their new OS will be "backwards compatible" with Android, but without its built-in warts, and if so, then how is that NOT going to the "World's" default OS for the foreseeable future?