Global smartphone shipments increased 38.8 percent to a record-high 258.4 million units last quarter from 186.2 million units a year ago, as demand for lower-priced smartphones running Google Inc’s Android operating system continues to grow in China, serving as the main driver of the sector, International Data Corp (IDC) said yesterday in a report.
On a quarterly basis, worldwide smartphone shipments last quarter achieved 9 percent growth from the previous record of 237 million units posted in the April-to-June quarter, IDC said.
Shipments to China accounted for more than one-third of total shipments last quarter, IDC said, citing the declining price of smartphones — particularly Android-based ones — as the primary reason for the growth.
“The Android platform has created vast opportunities for new vendors to get into the smartphone space and, in turn, has produced new competitive pressures at the top of the market,” IDC said.
SAMSUNG STILL No. 1
Last quarter, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co retained its lead in the sector with a 31.4 percent share of the market, up from 31 percent a year ago, according to the researcher.
Meanwhile, Apple Inc, despite seeing a 25.7 percent year-on-year expansion in shipments, saw its market share shrink to 13.1 percent last quarter from 14.4 percent during the same period last year, the report showed.
Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) sustained its position as the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor last quarter and saw its market share rise to 4.8 percent last quarter from 3.8 percent a year ago.
Commanding a share nearly as large as Huawei’s, Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) — the world’s biggest maker of personal computers — stayed in the No. 4 spot among smarpthone vendors with 4.7 percent of the market, while Samsung’s largest domestic rival, LG Electronics Co, followed in fifth place with a 4.6 percent stake, according to IDC.
RACE FOR THIRD
“Beyond Samsung and Apple at the top of the rankings is a tight race of vendors trying to break out from the pack,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in the report.
Llamas said that smartphone vendors excluding leader Apple and Samsung all share one key characteristic: they all manufacture products running on Android.
“This [making smartphones powered by Android] has been a huge factor in their success, but it also speaks to the challenges of differentiation on the world’s most popular platform,” Llamas said.
With the last quarter already seeing strong growth and multiple vendors launching flagship models, smartphone shipments will be poised to reach 1 billion units next year, Llamas said.
“Moving forward, what remains to be seen is how the various companies and platforms will stay differentiated and relevant in the increasingly competitive market,” he added.