- Chinese phone brand TRANSSION claimed the fifth spot previously owned by vivo.
- Worldwide smartphone sales in Q3 2023 hit about 300 million, a 1% dip compared to last year, according to Canalys.
- Apple, Samsung, and OPPO all lost worldwide market share compared to Q3 2022.
Unknown Chinese phone maker Transsion has pulled off a remarkable feat, surging to capture 9% of the global smartphone market in Q3 2023 and overtaking established brands like OPPO. According to a new report by Canalys, Transsion’s three brands—Tecno, Itel, and Infinix—shipped nearly as many phones as OPPO’s declining sales allowed last quarter.
Samsung and Apple Still Lead but Lose Ground
The Canalys data shows that while giants Samsung and Apple still lead with 20% and 17% market share respectively, both dropped year-over-year. Xiaomi held steady at 14% but only after recovering from early 2023 losses.
Overall, the global smartphone market shrank just 1% compared to Q3 2022, a welcome slowdown versus the steeper declines seen earlier this year. The minor contraction came thanks to “regional recoveries and new product upgrade demand,” per analysts.
Transsion’s Strategy Focuses on Emerging Markets
Founded in 2006, Transsion has rooted itself firmly in emerging markets like Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. But it’s now pushing into India as well. Its strategy centers on reliable, affordable phones like the Tecno Phantom V Flip foldable. At $600, the V Flip “democratizes” foldables by significantly undercutting rivals.
Transsion’s bold experimentation, including showing off a rollable phone concept this year, proves it’s not just copying others. This willingness to take risks in design and pricing shows ambition beyond simply chasing short-term wins.
Seizing Opportunities Left by Competitors
Per Canalys, Samsung is ceding share in lower-price segments to focus on profits. Transsion smartly capitalized on these openings in emerging markets. The report says, “These short-term wins might turn into more sustainable long-term success if Xiaomi and Transsion play their cards well.”
Apple and Samsung Look to Rebound
Apple launched its iPhone 14 series late in Q3, benefiting only slightly from pre-orders made before September ended. But with a full quarter to sell the iPhone 15 lineup, Apple looks guaranteed to gain share in Q4 2023.
Canalys says Apple may still cede some ground from last year’s 14 Pro supercycle. Samsung, having already launched the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 in Q3, will rely on devices like the Galaxy S23 FE and holiday deals to maintain iPhone competition.
Competition Will Only Intensify
OPPO, once a top 5 lock, needs its newly launched OnePlus 12 and Find N2 Flip to help it rebound through year’s end. Vivo, which dropped from the top 5 for the first time in years, faces similar pressure to gain ground during the holidays.
Xiaomi matched its 14% from last year, but only after huge losses early in 2023. The company will heavily promote its 13 series phones, including the first 200MP camera on a Xiaomi phone, to close 2023 stronger.
For Transsion’s ascendant brands, the future looks bright if they stay aggressive. But that requires countering inevitable responses by Samsung, OPPO, and Xiaomi in 2024. Transsion must keep developing exciting new phones with features that both delight and meet real needs in its core regions.
Keys to Sustaining Success
Foldables and rollables clearly interest Transsion, but pursuing gimmicks won’t help long-term. Unique cameras, battery tech, charging speeds, materials, and 5G capabilities should all be explored. But pricing and quality must remain cornerstones.
If Transsion can continue tailoring robust phones to developing markets while expanding into India and beyond, its remarkable rise in 2023 could be just the beginning. But competition will only intensify, so continued measured risk-taking and customer focus are musts.