A new report from the research group Counterpoint Research has revealed that Q3 2017 set a new record in the number of smartphones shipped but also that only a handful of manufacturers really benefited from that. Specifically, the third quarter saw a year-over-year increase of 5-percent. That may not seem like a lot but that figure actually equates to over 400 million smartphones shipped during the quarter. Unfortunately, that number also belies the fact that only ten manufacturers are seeing major returns on investment. That's because, according to Counterpoint's data, Samsung, Oppo, Huawei, Vivo, Xiaomi, LG, Lenovo, ZTE, Alcatel, and Apple own no less than 71.1-percent of that figure. The remaining manufacturers – of which there are more than 600 – account for just 28.9-percent of units shipped.
The report also revealed which of those ten companies saw improvement year-over-year and which didn't. Making matters worse for those OEM's that didn't make the top ten, the "others" category saw a decrease in devices shipped by around 10-percent from Q3 2016. On the other side of things, Xiaomi had a greater percentage increase in the number of devices it shipped – with shipments up by 81-percent over that same timeframe. Following just behind that, Vivo and Oppo saw shipment growth at 32 and 30-percent, and Huawei device shipments increased by 16-percent. Meanwhile, ZTE and Alcatel saw the greatest decline in devices shipped of those on the list – dropping by 36- percent and 33-percent, respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the growth also occurred mostly for the mid-range and upper-budget tier devices. Handsets in the $100 to $199 range saw shipment increases of around 4-percent, while shipments of those devices in the $300 to $399 range increased by around 16-percent. Every other partition of the overall pricing tier saw drops in the number of shipments year-over-year, with users at a global scale looking more for value purchases than adhering to brand-loyalty or seeking bleeding-edge components.
Unfortunately, despite wide expansions across the board into new and emerging markets such as India, the trends aren't likely to stop anytime soon. According to the report, new innovations in the space are saturating throughout the smartphone industry at an increasing rate. For example, the 18:9 display aspect ratio which was introduced as a premium feature just two quarters ago has already shown up on Android devices priced below $150. Other premium features, such as edge-to-edge displays, improved cameras, fingerprint sensors, and more have also spread rapidly. Meanwhile, consistent drops in the market share held by those brands not included in the top ten have forced other manufacturers to consolidate efforts and have driven increases in competition in the space.