Counterpoint has released its quarterly report for the fourth quarter of 2017. Apple iPhone X was on sale that quarter only for two months but still managed to top the charts. The Apple flagship occupied 35 per cent of the total profit in the handset market. The company maintained 8 out of 10 top most profitable handsets in the world. Samsung was the only company to be able to occupy two positions in the list. The Galaxy Note 8 at the sixth position and the Galaxy S8 Plus on the eighth position.
The profitability of iPhones can be contributed to high profit margins. Even in India, the brand adheres to a strict profit margin which also leads to final prices that are much higher than the smartphones sold in US.
Unsurprisingly, the iPhone X was immediately followed by iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were a distant fourth and fifth respectively. They also claim that the longer shelf life of iPhones (read: software support) lead them to achieve eight positions in the top ten.
An interesting point made in the report was that the iPhone X alone generated five times more profit that the combined profit of 600+ Android OEMs in the Q4 2017. However, in terms of year on year (YoY) growth Apple registered an increase in profit of one per cent. The global handset market registered a drop of one per cent. The report suggests that globally the handset market has come to stand still due to longer replacement cycles.
Counterpoint Research Analyst, Karn Chauhan, highlighted, "Global handset profits declined 1% YoY, but Apple grew 1% YoY even with the iPhone X being available for only two months in Q4 2017. The iPhone X alone generated 21% of total industry revenue and 35% of total industry profits during the quarter and its share is likely to grow as it advances further into its life cycle. Additionally, the longer shelf life of all iPhones ensured that Apple still has eight out of top ten smartphones, including its three-year-old models, generating the most profits compared to current competing smartphones from other OEMs."
Popular Chinese brands have started looking at increasing their price band by introducing better flagship-like features and greater investments in the research department. The report claims that the cumulative profit of Chinese OEMs has crossed $1.3 billion in Q4 2017.
Commenting on the performance of Chinese brands, Associate Director, Tarun Pathak, highlighted, "Chinese OEMs cumulative profits crossed 1.3 USD billion during Q4 2017. This was driven by the increased mix of mid to high-end smartphones. In fact, the average selling price (ASP) of their flagship devices also increased YoY. Key Chinese players like Huawei, OPPO and Vivo are now looking to scale up the price band, by leveraging their in-house manufacturing capabilities and bringing innovation to their devices."