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TrendForce Reports Q1 Smartphone Shipments Totaled 291.2M Units with Huawei Becoming Top Chinese Brand

According to TrendForce’s latest research, the global smartphone shipments for the first quarter of 2015 reached 291.2M units, a drop of 9.2% compared with the prior quarter. The decline, which was larger than the initial estimation, was attributed to the weak smartphone market in China. Looking ahead to the second quarter, TrendForce expects China’s internal market will reduce some of the overall inventory pressure during the coming Chinese Labor Day sales. Based on TrendForce’s forecast, China’s smartphone market will see visible recovery in the latter half of the second quarter at the earliest, and the shipments of Chinese smartphone brands will reach 122M units in total, or a 14.8% increase over their first quarter shipments. 

Smartphone giants Samsung and Apple maintain their number one and two position, and the former is projected to ship over 80M units in the second quarter while the latter will ship approximately 45M. Their second quarter shipments in turn will drive the overall global shipments to an estimated 311M units, translating to a quarterly growth of 6.8%. 

Samsung and Apple cement their position as no. 1 and 2 with their exceptional worldwide performances 

Samsung dominates the global smartphone market with 27.8% of the market share. Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have successfully captured consumers’ attention in the first quarter. Compared with Galaxy S5, the most recent models show substantial improvements in components specs. The S6 Edge in particular has created a buzz with its main feature – a touch screen that curves to both sides of the phone. TrendForce estimates the shipments of these two flagship models will surpass 20M units in the second quarter. 

Apple did remarkably well during the first quarter’s off-peak season. The ongoing excitement for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove the first quarter shipments of all iPhone products to exceed 55M units. Apple also set itself firmly as the number one sales brand in China in the first quarter, where the demand for iPhones is especially strong. Chinese smartphone brands, on the other hand, found their domestic market shares being squeezed out by Apple’s presence.  

The weak smartphone demand in China during the first quarter did not have a significant impact on LG as its shipments mainly go to the US and Europe. With the continuing recovery of the US economy, LG’s first quarter shipments reached 18M units. LG has climbed to the fourth spot in the global smartphone market. 

Huawei is first among Chinese brands and takes third place in global ranking 

The shipments of Chinese smartphone brands were lower than initially estimated. Combined together, Chinese brands only managed to ship 106M units in the first quarter, posting a 12.7% quarterly decline. According to TrendForce, the weak demand at home is attributed to several factors: the slowdown of China’s economy; lack of noticeable increases in subsidies offered by domestic telecom operators; and the success of iPhone in the first quarter. Furthermore, the depreciation of euros and the simultaneous appreciation of US dollars has curtailed the export momentum of Chinese brands in Eurozone and emerging markets. 

Lenovo, which mainly relied on China’s demand and collaborations with domestic telecom operators, was also notably affected by the weak domestic demand. Lenovo shipped 17.5M smartphone units in the first quarter. This represented a significant quarterly decline of more than 20%. Consequently, Lenovo’s slid to number five in the global ranking and lost its position as the top Chinese smartphone brand. 

Huawei was listed as one of the world’s top 100 brands in 2014, and is known as the first Chinese company to achieve such a feat. The brand has gradually built an international image and has also established a strong presence outside China. Thanks to its highly sought-after model, Ascend Mate 7, Huawei’s smartphone shipments in the first quarter exceeded 20M units. Based on this result, Huawei is able to take Lenovo’s place as the number one Chinese brand. 

OPPO’s ongoing strong performance in Southeast Asia reduces some of the influence coming from the weak Chinese market. OPPO shipped over 8M units in the first quarter. The sales of RedMi and RedMi Note drove Xiaomi’s first quarter smartphone shipments, which reached 16M. This translated to a quarterly decline of just 6%. Meizu, by contrast, saw its first quarter shipments soared by 45% over the prior period due to the popularity of its high price-performance model, the m1 note. 



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