Global smartphone shipments were between 342.5 million and 355.2 million in the third quarter of 2015 depending on which analyst report you look at, but all reports agreed that Samsung has returned to growth while the overall market growth is slowing.
Strategy Analytics said that smartphone shipments reached 354.2 million in the third quarter, up by 10 per cent compared to last year. However, the company noted that this is the smartphone industry's slowest growth rate for six years due to "increasing penetration maturity" in the U.S., Europe and China.
Juniper Research, meanwhile, said growth in the third quarter slowed to 8.4 per cent to reach shipments of 342.5 million. IDC put shipments at 355.2 million following year-on-year growth of just 6.8 per cent, and said shipments were slightly below its previous forecast of 363.8 million units.
The three research companies all cited South Korea-based Samsung as the clear beneficiary in the third quarter.
Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, noted that Samsung shipped 83.8 million smartphones worldwide in the third quarter, growing 6 per cent annually from 79.2 million units in the third quarter of 2014.
"Samsung has finally returned to positive smartphone growth for the first time in six quarters since the first quarter of 2014. Its smartphone division is back on the road to recovery," said Mawston.
He attributed the Korean company's success to select price cuts and attractive new models like the Galaxy Note 5, A8 and J5.
According to IDC, Samsung once again remained the overall leader in the worldwide smartphone market with 84.5 million units shipped, up 6.1 per cent from last year.
"Beating Apple to the punch with an untraditional August launch for the Note series (and new S6 edge +), Samsung saw stronger than normal September shipments as the new iPhone was yet to be released," the company said.
Juniper Research added that Samsung is beginning to turn its mobile unit around, with increased unit shipments and a 37 per cent annual increase in profitability. "This bolsters gains made by the company's semiconductor business, which is one of the most productive divisions for the company," the company said.
Apple remained in second position globally, shipping 48 million units and increasing its market share to 14 per cent from 12 per cent a year ago, according to Strategy Analytics, which like IDC put Huawei in third place, followed by Lenovo-Motorola in fourth place and Xiaomi in fifth position.
"Both Lenovo-Motorola and Xiaomi are struggling to make headway in the fast-growing 4G smartphone market and they are being punished by a bullish Huawei and a resurgent Samsung," said Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics.
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