IDC says they fell by 1.3%, but Strategy Analytics says they jumped 5.5%.
Conflicting reports on the second quarter performance of the smartphone market came out on Wednesday, with IDC saying year-on-year global shipments fell 1.3%, while Strategy Analytics said they were up 5.5%.
According to IDC, shipments came in at 341.6 million, compared to 346.1 million a year earlier. Strategy Analytics put shipments at 360.4 million, up from 341.5 million.
Both analyst firms have broadly similar figures for the industry’s top five players: Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi. Unsurprisingly, the biggest discrepancy arises in the ‘others’ category, which covers the likes of HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony, ZTE, plus myriad white label and niche players focused on individual regions and markets.
According to IDC, these other OEMs shipped 133.4 million units between them in Q2, down from 158.8 million, while Strategy Analytics puts the figure at 148.8 million, down from 158.8 million.
"In my opinion, the biggest change in the second quarter is the size of the contraction among the ‘others’ outside of the top five OEMs," said Ryan Reith, programme vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in a research note.
"It’s no secret that the smartphone market is a very challenging segment for companies to maintain or grow share, especially as already low average selling prices declined by another 4.3% in 2016. The smaller, more localised vendors will continue to struggle, especially as the leading volume drivers build out their portfolio into new markets and price segments," he said.
Strategy Analytics said the meteoric rise of China’s Oppo – which grew second quarter volumes 64% year-on-year to reach 29.5 million – was to the detriment of ZTE, LG, and TCL-Alcatel across China, India and Europe. The analyst firm noted that another Chinese player, Xiaomi, had another good quarter, growing shipments to 23.2 million, up from 14.7 million a year ago.
Both are optimistic about the smartphone market’s prospects with the looming launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and the tenth iteration of Apple’s iPhone later this year.
"We expect the rumoured Galaxy Note 8 upgrade with a bigger screen to further strengthen Samsung in the coming weeks," said Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, who said Apple is under pressure to show that the iPhone 8 "will be different or exciting enough to ignite a rebound in iPhone volumes for the important Q4 2017 Western holiday season."
IDC said it expects to see two quarters of positive year-over-year growth.
"All eyes will be on the ultra high-end flagships set to arrive this fall," predicted Anthony Scarsella, research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
"With devices like the iPhone 8, [Google] Pixel 2, Note 8, and [LG] V30 in the pipeline, the competition will be fierce come September," he said. "We expect all the key players to promote their latest and greatest flagships with an assortment of deals, bundles, and trade-in offers across a variety of channels in most key markets."