While Apple still owns half the market when it comes to premium smartphones, there has been some movement when it comes to the Android half of that list for figures from the year 2018. For the first time, Chinese brand OnePlus has made it into the top 5, joining two other Chinese brands, Huawei and Oppo, and of course Korean OEM Samsung. 2018 was also actually a good year for the global premium smartphone segment as they experienced slightly significant growth year on year.
According to figures from Counterpoint Research, the premium segment in 2018 actually grew faster than the overall global smartphone market, experiencing a 14% growth in terms of sell-in and 18% growth when it comes to sell-through figures. Apple was still the dominant brand, capturing 51% of the global premium market while its nearest competitor, Samsung, is just at 22%. Note that these figures don’t include the newly-released Galaxy S10 just yet since they only reflect last year’s numbers.
The growth for this sector on the Android side was driven by the entry of Chinese brands into the premium market segment. OnePlus in particular had a good year as they’re in the top 5 for the global list for the first time ever. This was driven by the release of their OnePlus 6T and their good showing in China, India, and Western Europe. They also made it to the top 5 OEMs in the US for the first time ever, at least in this premium segment.
Huawei is 3rd on the list in the global premium market, getting 10% and improving from its showing in 2017. This is because of the relative success of their P20 and Mate 20 series. They’ve also made headway in the Chinese market against its fiercest rivals Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.
Oppo still had a good year, increasing its market share of premium devices from just 1% in 2017 to 6% in 2018. This is because of their R15 and R17 series. When it comes to European markets, they are looking more at the mid-to-high tier devices so expect them to make more waves this year.