The global smartphone production volume for 2016 grew 4.7% annually to reach 1.36 billion units in total, according to market research firm TrendForce.
Samsung continued to top the annual global ranking despite the discontinuation of Galaxy Note 7, suffering a marginal decline of 3.3% compared with the 2015 figure. Chinese brands Huawei, OPPO and Vivo respectively occupied the last three spots in the global top five and followed closely behind the second-place Apple.
TrendForce points out that the total production volume of all Chinese brands for 2016 was 629 million units, surpassing the volume of 519 million units jointly from Apple and Samsung. Going forward, Chinese smartphone makers together are expected to account for around 50% of the global market in 2017, posing even greater challenges to other international brands.
Samsung saw declines for the second consecutive year and Apple’s performance fell short of expectations
Samsung had a difficult 2016 in the smartphone market and the company did not achieve its annual shipment target due to the fallout from the battery defect in Galaxy Note 7. Samsung’s global market share also contracted steadily, from 28% in 2014 to 25% in 2015 and then to 23% by the end of 2016.
Much of the market share loss was attributed to the stiff competition from Chinese brands across all market segments, from high-end to mid-range and low-end models.
Samsung’s production volume registered its second consecutive year of decline in 2016, falling by 3.3% compared with the prior year. Nonetheless, the brand was still the leader in the annual global ranking. TrendForce anticipates that Samsung’s smartphone business will keep struggling this year as well and will likely post another drop in the annual production volume.
Apple’s iPhone production volume fell 11.5% annually to 209 million units in 2016. The general reception to the major iPhone releases last year – iPhone 7 and 7 Plus – was average at best as both models lacked innovations that excite consumers. Though Apple was second place in 2016 ranking with 15.3% of the global market share, the market share difference with the third-place Huawei was just around five percentage points.
The general market expectation for 2017 is that the next iPhone release, which is the 10th anniversary edition (and currently labeled “iPhone 8”), will shoulder the burden of driving sales for Apple. However, TrendForce’s latest projection indicates single-digit growth for this year’s iPhone production volume.
LG’s production volume performance not particularly impressive during 2016 as its flagship G5 did not gain significant traction in the market upon release during the year’s first half. The brand’s performances in mid-range and low-end segments were also generally lackluster. As a result, LG was only able to increase its production volume by 10% annually to 75 million units.