Smartphone Vendor Market Share, Q4 2014
Holiday seasonality, strong end-user demand, and a deep selection of models propelled smartphone volumes to a new record level for the quarter and for the year. The worldwide smartphone market grew 28.2% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2014 (2014Q4), with shipments of 377.5 million units, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Android still dominates the market with a 76.6% share in 4Q14. Apple managed to ship 74.5 million units this quarter with a year-over-year growth of 46.0%, closing the gap to a near tie with Samsung. For the full year, the worldwide smartphone market shipped a total of 1.3 billion units. This is a 27.7% growth from the 1.0 billion units of shipments in 2013.
Source: IDC, 2014 Q4
* Motorola figures have been captured under Lenovo.Contact IDC to purchase smartphone data
Samsung remained the leader in the worldwide smartphone market in the fourth quarter, however with a narrow 0.2% share lead above Apple. Facing strong competition from Apple, decreasing product margins, and slowing down market demand, it posted a negative year-over-year change for the last three quarters. In order for Samsung to regain its share at the top, the company will have to either explore innovations, adopt lower margins, or revamp its high-end strategy. Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge series can be an opportunity to attract the value-oriented consumer.
Apple reached a new 4Q14 record, falling just short of surpassing Samsung for overall leadership in the smartphone market. An elevated consumer appetite for bigger screened devices, as well as Apple's big push into China and other countries, saw iPhone sales up 44% in the U.S. and doubling in BRIC. What remains to be seen is how long the company can sustain its runaway growth for the rest of 2015.
Lenovo was a distant third in Q4, thanks to the completion of the Motorola acquisition. Although having slightly fewer shipments than the previous quarter, Lenovo continued to dominate the sub-$150 handset market in China with a vast portfolio of devices including the popular Golden Warriors S8 and more expensive flagship Vibe Z2 pro. Lenovo recently announced that it will bring the Motorola brand back to China in 2015, starting with the Moto X in January.
Huawei reclaimed its fourth position, emphasizing its midrange and high-end smartphones (P Series and Mate Series respectively) and saw continued success with its Honor line. Huawei attributed its 2014 success to improved brand awareness and overall customer experience, which it will look to evolve even further in 2015.
Xiaomi fell from third position to fifth in Q4, beating out LG for the final spot among the top 5. Even though volumes declined slightly from previous quarter, Xiaomi posted the largest YoY growth of 178.3% among all the leading vendors, thanks to a solid demand within its home country of China. With a steady release of low-cost yet competitive products such as the Mi4 LTE, Xiaomi's grip on the number 5 spot is tenuous at best. What remains to be seen is how the company can move beyond its home territories with its current customer base and unique marketing strategy.
- IDC Mobility
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