China smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi grew strongest as the market recovered in Q1, according to Gartner.
While Huawei rose 18.3 percent in the quarter to narrow the gap with second placed Apple, Xiaomi recorded an impressive 124 percent increase year on year.
Refreshed lineups helped both vendors in their growth.
“Huawei’s attempt to grow its premium smartphone portfolio with its recent launches of the P20, P20 Pro and Honor 10 helps raise its competitiveness and growth potential,” said Anshul Gupta, Research Director of Gartner.
Xiaomi also banked on aggressive pricing strategy to hold the No. 4 spot in the first quarter of 2018.
“This strategy led Xiaomi to achieve 330 percent growth in the Emerging Asia/Pacific region,” said Gupta.
Overall, global sales of smartphones to end users increased 1.3 percent compared to same period in 2017. Nearly 384 million smartphones were sold in the first quarter of 2018, representing 84 percent of total mobile phones sold.
Samsung continued to lead the market while Apple came in second.
“Demand for premium and high-end smartphones continued to suffer due to marginal incremental benefits during upgrade. Demand for entry-level smartphones (sub-US$100) and low mid-tier smartphones (sub-US$150) improved due to better-quality models,” said Gupta.
Continued weakness in Greater China’s mobile phone market also limited growth potential for the top global brands, including Chinese brands such as Oppo and Vivo, with over 70 percent of their sales coming from Greater China.