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Global Smartphone Sales Surge; Apple, Samsung Lose Share

Framingham, Mass. – Global smartphone shipments continued to rise in the first quarter, but market leaders Samsung and Apple lost share to competitors, International Data Corp. (IDC) said.

Although Samsung and Apple shipments grew during the quarter at 22 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively, compared with the year-ago quarter, the two companies posted slight share drops. (See table.) Samsung share fell by 1.7 percentage points, to 30.2 percent, from 31.9 percent, and Apple’s share slipped 1.6 percentage points, to 15.5 percent, from 17.1 percent.

Huawei share grew to 4.9 percent from 4.3 percent, and Lenovo share grew to 4.6 percent from 3.6 percent. LG share slipped fractionally, and the “other” group saw its share rise to 40.5 percent from 38.5 percent.

Global smartphone shipments rose in the quarter by 28.7 percent, to 281.5 million. Total mobile phone shipments, consisting of smartphones and feature phones combined, rose 3.9 percent to 448.6 million units.

IDC expects total smartphone shipments for the year to rise 19.3 percent to 1.2 billion units, marking a slowdown from 2013’s 39.2 percent growth. The lower growth rate for 2014, however, “should not be interpreted as a sign that the market has come as far as it can,” said research manager Ramon Llamas.

“In fact, there will be plenty to observe. Apple’s entry into China is only the start of where it has yet to go. The introduction of Nokia’s Android-powered X series as well as Microsoft’s recently completed acquisition of Nokia marks a new era for both companies,” Llamas said.

Numerous companies, via acquisitions and new strategies, “will make a run at position and market share. In all, there are multiple dynamic trends in the making, which will make for an interesting year,” he added.

For the quarter, Samsung remained at the top of the smartphone heap by relying on high-end smartphones in mature markets and a “deep selection of entry and mid-range models in emerging markets,” Llamas said.

For its part, Apple hit a first-quarter record thanks to double-digit growth in Japan, Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, IDC said. Nonetheless, Apple’s shipments grew at a lower percentage rate among leading vendors in the quarter.

In ranking brands in the overall cellphone market, IDC put Samsung at the top, followed by Nokia, Apple, LG and Huawei, in that order.