iPhone growth stalls as Chinese smartphones surge

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Product Red iPhone box
The RED iPhone 7 hasn't given sales a boost.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Growth in the smartphone industry isn’t dead yet, according to the latest report from the International Data Corporation which found smartphone shipments grew more than expected last quarter.

IDC predicted shipments would rise 3.6%, but the industry actually saw 4.3% growth in Q1 2017. Unfortunately for Apple, most of the increase in shipments were triggered by a couple of Chinese companies.

“There is no question that 2016 was a pivotal year for the industry as growth dipped to low single digits for the first time,” said Ryan Reith, VP of mobile device tracking at IDC. “However, we believe the industry will show some rebound in 2017, and the strong first quarter results certainly support this argument.”

Trouble in China

Both Samsung and Apple had relatively flat quarters. Apple experienced less than 1% growth in smartphone shipments with an estimated 51.6 million units shipped. Samsung shipped 79.2 million smartphones, the same amount it had in Q1 2016.

The clear winners during Q1 2017 were the Chinese companies Huawei, OPPO, and vivo. Apple has been struggling to gain traction in China, meanwhile Huawei dominated last quarter with nearly 22% growth and 34.2 million units sold.

Huawei’s balance of premium design and affordable hardware make it powerful third option to Samsung and Apple phones. Despite dominating in China, Huawei’s brand has yet to catch on in the U.S. which is crucial if it wants to be one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world.

Here are the full numbers from Q1 2017:

idc
Smartphone shipments in Q1 2017.
Photo: IDC