The global premium smartphone segment continues to grow faster than the overall smartphone market, said a report. The growth for the year was driven by Apple, Samsung and Chinese OEMs like Huawei, OPPO, vivo and One Plus, said Counterpoint Research's recent Market Pulse December 2018 report. The compamy considers smartphone with the price tag of $400 in wholesale as premium.
The report emphasised that within the premium segment, the $800+ ultra-premium segment has been growing the fastest. In 2017 it was merely 8% of the premium market (defined as $400+). However, since the Apple iPhone X was introduced, prices have jumped to a new level. In 2018, the new flagship of Apple (XS, XS Max), Samsung (note 9) and Google (Pixel 3 XL) were all launched above the $800 price. OEMs were able to increase the average price points (ASPs), taking advantage of the headroom created by Apple.
The company said that consumers are now willing to spend more on their device, but at the same time holding on for a longer period. Thus, the overall market growth is slowing, but the premium segment is expanding. Going forward, the trend of premium smartphones is likely to continue. Introduction of 5G phones, foldable displays and popularity of the so called, affordable premium segment in emerging markets will further drive the growth.
The global, premium smartphone segment grew faster (+18%) than the overall smartphone segment (-2%) in 2018. Growth was driven by flagship launches of Global players like Apple, Samsung and Google. Chinese players like Huawei, OPPO and vivo also followed this trend. Apple led the global premium smartphone segment capturing 51% share of the segment, followed by Samsung (22%) and Huawei (10%).
The $800+ segment was a newly created category by Apple, and it grew the fastest. Apple clearly dominated with more than 80% share in the $800+ ultra-premium price band.
The affordable premium segment, the $400-$600 price-band, was actually the largest volume segment in total premium sales. Although Apple still leads in this segment, the biggest winner was OnePlus.
OnePlus remains one of the fastest growing brands in the $400-$600 segment. The success of OnePlus in India drove the overall premium smartphone shipments in the country to a record number in a single year. The brand is likely to grow as it broadens its reach in the European and US markets.