Chinese Brands Mobile Handset Profit crossed US$1.5 Billion For the First Time in a Single Quarter

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor program for Q3 2017 (July-September), Global mobile handset profits grew 13% YoY in Q3 2017 due to strong performance of Samsung and Chinese brands.

Counterpoint Associate Director, Tarun Pathak, highlighted, “This is the first time ever when the cumulative profits of Chinese brands crossed US$1.5 Billion for the first in a single quarter. Usually all the profits have been shared by just two brands Samsung and Apple, however, Chinese brands have made inroads here as well.”

Mr Pathak, further added. “The growth of Chinese brands can be attributed to the diligent efforts in streamlining the supply chain with rising mix of mid to high end smartphones in their portfolio. Even in the premium segment, players like Huawei are positioning their flagship models just below the premium offerings from Apple and Samsung. This strategy is designed to penetrate premium market while maximizing revenue and profit.”

Counterpoint’s Research Director, Neil Shah, added, “Apple continued to command lion share of mobile handset industry profits capturing almost 60% share. However, this is down from 86% share in the same quarter last year when Samsung had to gulp up a loss due to the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. The Korean vendor though with relatively stronger demand for Note 8 and mid-tier high-scale J series have been able to capture almost a fourth of the global mobile handset industry profits.”

Mr. Shah added, “Apple still generates more than US$150 profit per iPhone sold and this will continue to grow into the holiday season quarter buoyed by the high price iPhone X series. Our recent channel checks across key Apple markets showed, the demand for the 256GB version of iPhone X is higher which will boost Apple’s profits even higher.”

Exhibit 1: Global Handset Profit Share by Brands: Q3 2017

Market Summary:

  • Apple captured nearly 60% of the total profits generated in mobile handset segment followed by Samsung
  • Apple’s profit share declined by 30% YoY mainly due to increased mix of previous generation iPhones. The average selling price of iPhone remained flat YoY while the shipments increased 3% YoY.
  • In Q4 2017, we estimate that the total profits of Apple will improve driven by its iPhone X sales. Apple exited the quarter with some iPhone 8 inventory due to softer than expected demand compared to the iPhone 7 series.
  • Samsung made a strong come back in the third quarter with its Note 8 series while S8 series continue to perform on par. The profit share reached 26% as compared to its loss during Q3 2016 due to Note 7 debacle.
  • Huawei witnessed highest profit growth of 67% YoY in Q3 2017 due to its portfolio expansion across price bands. Huawei’s smartphone ASP grew by 6% YoY driven by its Mate and P series.
  • Oppo & Vivo captured fourth and fifth spot in Global Handset profit share mainly driven by their performance in China.
  • While Xiaomi has made a strong comeback with handset profit growth of 41% YoY, it is still behind the market leaders. For Xiaomi, offline distribution is the key to reaching OPPO or Huawei’s scale, but most of Xiaomi’s sales are still skewed towards lower-end models. Xiaomi needs premium flagship like Mi Mix 2 or Mi 6 series to scale and drive higher profits also to offset the offline expansion costs. Xiaomi is rumored to be in pre-IPO phase and instilling investors confidence that it can scale and make more money will be key next year.
  • Expansion of Chinese players outside China (see regional performance) will have an impact on the profit margins of Chinese players which they would like to mitigate by increasing the mix of mid segment devices in markets outside China.

Profits per unit sold:

  • Apple’s per unit profit is five times higher than Samsung and approximately 14 times higher than the average per unit profit of Chinese brands. Apple’s per unit profit stood at $151 in Q3 2017.
  • Samsung with its global presence has one of the highest number of models across price bands. Its profit per unit was $31 in Q3 2017
  • Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are all performing similar in terms of profits per unit, each having an average per unit profit of $15, $14 & $13 respectively.
  • As compared to other Chinese brands, Xiaomi’s per unit profit is lower ($2) as it plays on very thin margins.

Exhibit 2: Global Handset Profit Per Unit by Brands: Q3 2017

The comprehensive and in-depth 3Q 2017 Handset profit share analysis is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to reach out to us at for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries.

For Q3 2017 handset shipment performance in different markets please refer to link below

Global Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017  

India Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

China Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

USA Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

Russia Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

UK Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

Germany Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

Argentina Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

Vietnam Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

Bangladesh Handset Market Analysis – Q3 2017

Analyst Contacts:

Tarun Pathak
+91 9971213665

Neil Shah
+91 9930218469

Follow Counterpoint Research        

Tarun is a Research Director with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based out of Gurgaon (near New Delhi). Tarun has 10 years of work experience with a key focus on the evolving mobile device ecosystem with specialties in Emerging Markets. He understands specific mobile industry nuances, helping clients to navigate through the rapidly changing technological trends. As a Telecom Analyst he has been quoted extensively by the leading media platforms. Tarun holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, specializing in International Business from the Amity International Business School and is a graduate in Physical Sciences from Jammu University, Jammu in the northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.