Global smartphone shipments grew 33 percent annually to reach 285 million units in the first quarter of 2014, according to new research. Leaders Samsung and Apple lost slight traction in the quarter, while Huawei and Lenovo each held five percent market share worldwide.
Ken Hyers, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, which conducted the research, said global smartphone shipments grew 33 percent annually from 213.9 million units in Q1 2013 to 285.0 million in Q1 2014. “Smartphone growth was mixed on a regional basis during the quarter, with healthy demand in Asia counterbalanced by sluggish volumes across North America due to changes in the operator subsidy mix,” said Hyers.
Samsung shipped 89.0 million smartphones worldwide and captured 31 percent market share in Q1 2014, dipping slightly from 32 percent a year earlier, according to the research. This was Samsung’s first annual market share loss in the smartphone category since Q4 2009.
Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market and from Chinese brands like Huawei at the lower-end. Apple grew a below-average 17 percent annually and shipped 43.7 million iPhones worldwide for 15 percent market share in Q1 2014, falling from the 17 percent level recorded during Q1 2013.
Apple remains strong in the premium smartphone segment, but a lack of presence in the entry-level category continues to cost it lost volumes in fast-growing emerging markets such as Latin America.
The combined global smartphone market share of Samsung and Apple has slipped from 50 percent in Q1 2013 to 47 percent in Q1 2014. There is more competition than ever coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei remained steady with 5 percent global smartphone market share in Q1 2014, while Lenovo has increased its global presence from 4 percent to 5 percent share during the past year.
Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while Lenovo continues to grow aggressively outside China into new regions such as Russia. If the recent Lenovo takeover of Motorola gets approved by various governments in the coming months, this will eventually create an even larger competitive force that Samsung and Apple must contend with in the second half of this year.