Samsung, Apple still dominate smartphones, but their shares slip

Samsung, Apple still dominate smartphones, but their shares slip

Vendors mainly from China are offering low-cost, high-quality alternatives, IDC says

Samsung and Apple, in the second quarter, sunk to their lowest shares of the global smartphone market in recent years as Chinese smartphone vendors came on strong, according to market research firm, IDC.

"Samsung and Apple are both seeing a lot of pressure from alternative vendors working their way up the ladder," said IDC analyst Ryan Reith in an interview.

Samsung and Apple still dominate the smartphone market, but are being crowded out by a host of smaller vendors, mostly from China. They include Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Coolpad, ZTE, TCL and OPPO, Reith said.

In the past few years, Samsung, has taken about 30 per cent of the smartphone market each quarter putting it squarely in first place. In fact, Samsung reached 32.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2013. In the just-finished second quarter, however, Samsung's share dropped to 25.2 per cent, with 74.3 million smartphones shipped, still more than double that of second-place Apple, IDC said. That 25.2 per cent is the lowest share for Samsung since the fourth quarter of 2011, Reith said.

Apple, in second place, has held about 18 per cent of the market each quarter in recent years but lately has seen steady declines, dropping to 11.9 per cent market share in the second quarter of 2014, down from 13 per cent in the same period last year. For the just-passed second quarter, Apple shipped 35.1 million smartphones. Apple's 11.9 per cent market share is its lowest since the first quarter of 2009, Reith said.

"Samsung and Apple still have a lot of volume of shipments, but a lot of other guys are putting out a good device, and at lower cost with quality in many technical areas," Reith said. "There is just more variety in the market and not just in China. In India, there are four local brands, and buyers are more familiar with them than either Apple or Samsung.

"Both Apple and Samsung are still top of the U.S. market, no question," Reith added, but average Americans don't always have a view to the bigger market outside their national boundaries.

Smartphone growth is far higher globally than in the U.S. because of the saturated U.S. smartphone market. IDC said the global smartphone market grew by 23 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the U.S. smartphone market is expected to hover at 11 per cent growth for all of 2014, then drop to the single digits in 2015, Reith said.

Huawei, the No. 3 smartphone vendor for the quarter, nearly doubled its shipments over a year ago, reaching 20.3 million units and a 6.9 per cent share. Huawei was helped by expansion of 4G LTE in China, where national carriers sold subsidized 4G smartphones like Huawei's P7. Adding to its success, Huawei also sold the low-cost Y series smartphone outside of China.

Lenovo, the No. 4 vendor with 5.4 per cent of the market, saw a record second quarter in China, IDC said, mainly with sales of the A788T and the A388T. Total shipments for the quarter were 15.8 million. Lenovo is in the process of acquiring Motorola from Google and will use the acquisition to grow outside of China. A year ago, just 5 per cent of Lenovo's shipments were outside of China, but that share tripled in the second quarter due mainly to sales in Brazil, Russia, India and Indonesia, IDC said.

LG finished fifth for the quarter with a 4.9 per cent market share and shipments of 14.5 million smartphones, such as the L70. The high-quality LG G3 launched at the end of the quarter and is now sold in the U.S. for $US99 on several carriers under contract, and its sales results are expected to affect LG's third quarter.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is

See more by Matt Hamblen on

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Mobile/WirelessiosNetworkingwirelessZTEmobileoperating systemsXiaomiAppleconsumer electronicsIDCsmartphonestclsoftwareLenovo



Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

​The New Year brings the usual new round of humdrum technology predictions, glaringly general, unashamedly safe and perpetually predictable. But while the industry no longer sees value in “cloud is now the norm” type projections, value can be found in following developments of the year previous, analysing behaviours and patterns to formulate a plan for the 12 months ahead. Consequently, here’s the top Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017...

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017
Show Comments