Samsung lost its number one position in the global smartphone market to Apple in the last quarter of 2014. Buoyed by sales of its iPhone 6, Apple shipped 74.8 million units to secure a 20.4 per cent share of the market, Gartner said on Wednesday.
Samsung shipped 73 million units during the quarter to secure 19.9 per cent share, a significant drop from the 83.3 million it shipped in Q4, 2013.
Total worldwide smartphone sales hit 367.5 million during the quarter – up 29 per cent Q4, 2013 – and 1.2 billion units were sold during calendar 2014. Smartphone sales represented two-thirds of the global phone market in 2014, Gartner said.
“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated even further in the fourth quarter of 2014 when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.
“Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure,” he said.
Gupta said Samsung can gain more customer loyalty and differentiation at the higher end of the market through its solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to its own devices.
Gartner’s researcher director, Roberta Cozza, said Apple’s strong customer ecosystem and new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus drove strong replacements within the iOS base. These smartphones offered new users, looking for phones with larger screens, an alternative to Android, she said.
Meanwhile, Lenovo – which also includes Motorola – secured the number three spot during Q4 of 2014, grabbing 6.6 per cent of the global smartphone market, and growing 47.6 year-on-year.
Sales of Lenovo phones in its home market, China, grew 7.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014. Its strong mobile phone sales in Russia, India, Indonesia, and Brazil during the quarter helped it grow by 26 per cent in the global mobile phone market.
Chinese vendors such as Huawei and Xiaomi, are improving their sales in China and other overseas markets, Cozza said.
“They are producing high quality devices with appealing new features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market. Brand building and marketing will be key activities in deciding which Chinese vendors can secure a foothold in mature markets,” Cozza said.
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