The global market returned to growth in April after a difficult March. Sell-in is still suffering though as channels that have been carrying excess stock throughout 1Q15 work to clear down the inventory. Sell through exceeded sell-in in April by our estimation.
Samsung’s new flagship models – Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have sold in well and are selling through the channels – especially the S6 Edge, despite its high price. Samsung is benefiting from being out of phase with Apple’s iPhone launch cycle. Momentum looks positive for the S6 Edge but standard S6 is likely to suffer from a shorter period of strong demand.
The market for other brands is mixed with Chinese vendors Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel OneTouch growing faster than the market. Microsoft has also managed this feat thanks to traction for its recently launched mid and low end smartphones. Some local vendors are also growing fast in their local markets.
The outlook for coming months remains challenging however with few obvious catalysts to drive a positive uptick in the market. We expect to see sell-in remain muted with sell through holding steady as channels continue to clear inventory.
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