Apple overtook Samsung as the number one global smartphone vendor in the 2014 fourth quarter, while total unit sales for the year exceeded one billion, according to technology research firm Gartner.Gartner figures reveal sales of smartphones for 2014 totalled 1.2 billion units, up 28.4 per cent year-on-year, representing two-thirds of global mobile phone sales.
The fourth quarter saw an increase of 29.9 per cent on last year’s corresponding quarter, totalling 367.5 million units, with Apple assuming the position of number one vendor, a spot Samsung had occupied since 2011.
Apple recorded its best quarter ever, selling 74.8 million units, with Gartner noting Apple’s first ever large-screen phones continued to see huge demand with sales in China and US, growing at 56 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively.
“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” Anshul Gupta, Gartner principal research analyst, commented.
“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.”
Apple saw its global market share grow from 17.8 per cent to 20.4 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, while Samsung’s share declined from 29.5 per cent to 19.9 per cent.
Rounding out the top five were Lenovo (with Gartner’s quarterly and yearly figures including Lenovo and Motorola sales), which came in at number three with 6.6 per cent market share, up from 5.8 per cent in last year’s corresponding period, Huawei, at number four remaining flat at 5.7 per cent, and Xiaomi, which grew from 2 per cent to 5.1 per cent.
Samsung retained top spot over the course of the year, capturing a 24.7 per cent share of the market, down from 30.9 per cent in 2013, with Apple at number two capturing 15.4 per cent market share, down marginally from 15.5 per cent.
Lenovo came in at third with a 6.5 per cent share of the market, up from 5.9 per cent in 2013, with Huawei in fourth capturing a 5.5 per cent market share, up from 4.8 per cent, and LG in fifth capturing 4.6 per cent of the market, down from 4.8 per cent.
Gartner noted the availability of smartphones at lower prices accelerated the migration of feature phone users to smartphones in 2014, leading to double digit growth of the smartphone operating system market in most emerging countries.
Android increased its global operating system market share from 78.5 per cent in 2013 to 80.7 per cent, iOS at 15.4 per cent saw a slight decline from 15.5 per cent, while Windows Phone declined from 3.2 per cent to 2.8 per cent.
“Chinese and other smaller players drove Android’s performance in 2014, while more established players at the higher end of the market continued to struggle to increase stickiness to their brands and ecosystems,” Gartner stated.
“Windows Phone’s performance was flat, but it recorded strong results in some markets in Europe, and in the business segment.”