Vendors shipped a total of 327.6 million units during the third quarter of 2014, an 8.7% increase from 301.3 million units in the second quarter. This marks the second consecutive quarter in which global smartphone shipments surpassed 300 million units. It’s a 25.2% increase from a year ago when 261.7 million units were shipped. The growth can be attributed to new product releases and an increased emphasis on emerging markets.
The data covers 60 countries and 8 regions by vendor. The most developed markets appear to be closing in on saturation. IDC Program Director Ryan Reith reports that the most developed markets are seeing single-digit growth, while emerging marketing are still growing at more than 30% collectively. Although Samsung maintained its spot at the top, it was the only company among the top five to see its shipment volume decline year-over-year. As of the end of the third quarter, it owned 23.8% of market share, almost double that of Apple’s, with mid-range and low-end models driving volume to 78.1 million units. Samsung’s curvy Galaxy Note Edge will be available with U.S. carriers starting next week. We know that Apple recently unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which helped the company post its largest third-quarter volume ever. The iPhone 5S and 5C models still constituted the bulk of the volume. Apple held 12.0% of the market with 39.3 million units. The market overall saw a big push from the vendors behind market leaders Samsung and Apple. Rounding out the top five are Xiaomi–a high-end competitor and one of China’s biggest electronics companies, Lenovo, and LG Electronics. Each achieved growth that surpassed the market while competing in various market segments, ranging from low end to high end. Xiaomi made its first appearance in the top five at #3 with focus on China and surrounding markets, shipping 17.3 million units. This has resulted in triple-digit year-over-year growth. Their launch of Mi4 smartphone, positioned as a high-end alternative to the status quo, in August was key to its success. Lenovo saw steady gains as it reached 16.9 million units. Its low-end smartphones like the A369i and A316 drove volumes from emerging markets in Asia/Pacific and the Middle East and Africa. Domestically, it launched a number of 4G handsets, with some at lower price points. LG’s movement in the low-end market pushed its volumes up to 16.8 million units, surpassing the 15 million unit mark for the first time in company history. Its F-series and L-series smartphones earned warm receptions in both emerging and developed markets. At the same time, LG released its flagship G3 to maintain a presence in the high-end market, lifting the company’s overall LTE footprint. There is still room to compete in this market. Even apart from the top five, IDC’s Mobile Phone team reports that there are a number of vendors seeing similar results. Other vendors shipped 159.2 million units of the 327.6 million unit total.