Smartphone sales lifted by emerging markets

Global smartphone sales grew at a healthy pace in the third quarter, boosted by low-cost handsets in emerging markets, industry research showed on Thursday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 31 Oct 2014, 10:53 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:23 AM

The research firm IDC said global smartphone shipments jumped 25.2 per cent from a year earlier to 327.6 million in the quarter, and were up 8.7 per cent over the second quarter.

“Despite rumors of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes,” said IDC’s Ryan Reith.

“We’ve finally reached a point where most developed markets are experiencing single-digit growth, while emerging markets are still growing at more than 30 per cent collectively. In these markets, smartphone price points are making mobile computing possible where we once expected feature phones to remain dominant.”

But for smartphone makers, Reith said it will become more challenging to make profits as prices drop. “Outside of Apple, many are struggling to do this,” he said.

A separate survey from Strategy Analytics showed global smartphone shipments grew 27 per cent to 320 million units in the quarter.

“Smartphone growth was mixed on a regional basis during the quarter, with healthy demand in Asia and Africa counterbalanced by sluggish volumes across North America and Europe,” said analyst Linda Sui.

Samsung remained the top global vendor. IDC pegged the South Korean group’s market share at 23.8 per cent, while Strategy Analytics estimated it at 24.7 per cent. Over the past year, Samsung has lost market share, largely to Chinese manufacturers.

Apple’s share also dipped as iPhone sales grew at a slower pace than that of key rivals. Its market share was estimated at around 12 per cent by both firms. Apple sold 39 million iPhones in the July-September period, lifted by its new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

“Apple’s iPhone growth is slowing worldwide because of its limited presence in the fast-growing entry-level segment,” said Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics.

A tough battle is being waged for the number three position in the market.

Strategy Analytics placed lesser-known Chinese group Xiaomi in third place, with its market share jumping to 5.6 per cent, ahead of South Korea’s LG (5.2 per cent) and China’s Huawei (5.1 per cent).

“Xiaomi’s Android smartphone models are wildly popular in the Chinese market and it shifts millions of them every quarter through its extensive online and operator channels,” Mawston said.

“Xiaomi’s next step is to target the international market in Asia and Europe, where it may face stronger headwinds of low brand awareness and technology-patent challenges next year.”

IDC placed Xiaomi in third place with 5.3 per cent ahead of fellow Chinese maker Lenovo at 5.2 per cent.

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