Tuesday, 03 October 2017 22:37

iPhone 7 was top smartphone in first half of 2017 Featured

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A new report says Apple's iPhone 7 "outsold all other smartphone models globally during the first six months of 2017", followed by the iPhone 7 Plus – history will surely repeat in 2018?

Ok, so Apple's iPhone X is obviously going to shake things up a bit for where the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will emerge on the same version of this new report by IHS Markit at the same time in 2018, but it seems the only thing that will hold the iPhone X back is the number that Apple can make in any given timeframe.

Still, that's all for the future, with IHS Markit's report nevertheless giving us some great info on just where the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were positioned in the first half of this year, with the organisation stating that "iPhone models remain the most popular smartphones, maintaining their bestseller positions since launching."

The number 3 smartphone is one most people in Australia and probably the US and the rest of the West may well not have heard of – the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus, which almost sounds like one of Optimus Prime's relatives.

In fourth spot came the iPhone 6s, with Samsung having a second smartphone in the top five slots, with the Galaxy S8 in fifth place, with "slightly less volume than the Galaxy S8 Plus", pipped at the post into sixth spot by the aforementioned S8.

However, IHS Markit's analysts then state that "flagship models from Apple and Samsung had sluggish sales in the first half of 2017".

We're told that although the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus iPhone models secured top positions in H1 2017, "shipment volume declined compared to their respective predecessor models, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, during the same period in 2016".

That said, the "smaller-screen 4.7-inch display iPhone models ranked in the top positions in first half of three consecutive years beginning in 2015. However, their market share continues to fall, dropping from 10% in 2015 to 7% in 2016, and 5% in 2017".

Why this might be the case is not analysed, or at least, not in IHS Markit's media release. It is presumably explored in much more detail in the "IHS Markit Smartphone Model Market Tracker report", which as per usual with major reports is on sale to relevant parties at relevant prices.

Meanwhile, IHS says "the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship series recorded a smaller shipment volume this year", and this time, we get a suggestion as to why this might be the case.

Jusy Hong, associate director – mobile devices for IHS Markit, said: "This is likely because Samsung began selling the Galaxy S8 and S8+ models in April, a month later than last year’s launch of the S7 series. The shipment ranking of the Galaxy S8 Plus fell to number six, compared to the fourth-place Galaxy S7 Edge in 2016.”

As for the top 10 in aggregate for H1 2017, IHS said: "Five Samsung models, four Apple models, and one Oppo model ranked in the top 10 most-shipped smartphones in the first half of 2017", and adds that "the number of smartphone models with more than a million shipments per month increased in the first half of this year to 22 from 17 in 2016".

Hong added: “This is a direct result of smartphone OEM efforts to select and concentrate in order to improve product portfolios and increase profitability. In addition, more Chinese OEMs are selling their smartphone models outside of China, which intensifies competition and generates more globally popular models.”

Finally, the last snippet of free info before needing to invest in IHS Markit's report is that "among the 22 top-shipping models so far this year are eight Chinese models that shipped more than six million units in H1 2017: five from Oppo, two from Xiaomi and one from Huawei. Samsung had 10 models that shipped more than one million units per month respectively, while Apple had four".

So, there you have it. How accurate this barometer is for the second half of 2017 sales and H1 2018 is yet to be seen, but if there is an upgrade super cycle attributed to the 8, 8 Plus and X, as was rumoured, as well as sales of flagships like the Note 8 and ever better mid-range models striving to include ever more flagship features, and 2018 could be the world of smartphones' most unpredictable yet!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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