Smartphone slowdown? Think again. According to researcher IDC’s Q3 2014 figures, the worldwide smartphone market rose some 25.2 percent, driven by sales in emerging markets led by Chinese mobile device maker Xiaomi, which rode its Mi4 model to a 211 percent year-over-year spike in unit shipments.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

November 3, 2014

3 Min Read
IDC: Xiaomi Gains Big as Q3 Global Smartphone Shipments Up 25 Percent

Smartphone slowdown? Think again. According to researcher IDC’s Q3 2014 figures, the worldwide smartphone market rose some 25.2 percent, driven by sales in emerging markets led by Chinese mobile device maker Xiaomi, which rode its Mi4 model to a 211 percent year-over-year spike in unit shipments.

Vendors shipped a total of 327.6 million units during Q3 2014 compared to the 261.7 million units shipped during the same period last year and the 301.3 million units moved in Q2 2014.

“Despite rumors of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes,” said Ryan Reith, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker program director. “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 percent collectively.”

Reith said competitive pricing on smartphones is advancing the overall market.

“In these markets, smartphone price points are making mobile computing possible where we once expected feature phones to remain dominant,” he said. “This is great news for overall volumes, but the challenge has now become how to make money on devices that are quickly becoming commodity products. Outside of Apple, many are struggling to do this.”

Samsung leads the global smartphone market with a 28.3 percent share, although its stake slipped by 8.7 percent from the same time last year as the Korean device maker shipped 8.2 percent fewer units in Q3 2014. Apple (AAPL), with a 12 percent share of the market based on a .9 percent downturn from Q3 2013, nonetheless saw its shipments increase by 16.1 percent, IDC said.

By comparison, Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG Electronics all posted significant gains from last year, with the latter two vendors recording a 38 percent and 39.8 percent unit shipment increase, respectively. All three mobile makers own about 5 percent of the market, IDC said.

Aside from market leader but struggling Samsung and booming Apple, the “next three vendors—Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG Electronics—all posted market-beating growth and with markedly different strategies,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC Mobile Phone research manager.

“This shows that there is still room to compete in this market, whether it be in the low end as Lenovo has done, at the high end where Xiaomi competes, or in both as LG Electronics has shown,” he said. “Beyond the top five, there are a number of other vendors achieving similar results.”

Researcher Kantar Worldpanel Comtech last week said Xiaomi had taken over as the leading smartphone maker in China with a 30.3 percent share of the market, followed by Samsung with an 18.4 percent stake.

Xiaomi said it shipped 18 million smartphone units in Q3 2014 and a total of 44 million units for the first nine months of this year.

About 16 percent of smartphones sold in China over the past three months featured screen sizes of 5.5 inches or larger, the researcher said, boding well for Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus in the holiday season.

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DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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