Smartphone shipments continued to rise during the second quarter of 2015, but the rate of growth slowed compared to previous years according to separate announcements from analysts at Strategy Analytics and Juniper Research.
Strategy Analytics said total smartphone shipments hit 339.5 million units in the recent quarter, representing a 15 per cent rise on the same period of 2014. Director Linda Sui said the rate of growth was the industry's worst since 2009, when shipments were impacted by a global economic crisis that affected consumer spending.
"Smartphone growth is slowing due to increasing penetration maturity in major markets of the U.S., Europe and China," Sui noted, adding that a fresh approach to the industrial design of the devices "such as foldable or rollable displays" is needed to stimulate the market.
Juniper Research, meanwhile, estimated that total smartphone shipments in the second quarter grew 16 per cent year-on-year to 338 million units. The company noted that the global smartphone market "continued to mature" during the period, and pointed to a slowdown in sales in China as a primary reason for the deceleration in overall growth.
Both companies agreed that Apple bucked the trend for slowing sales growth, with China particularly strong for the vendor during the period.
Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models "remained wildly popular in China and worldwide, as consumers upgraded to larger-screen phablets for enhanced usability."
The research companies' assertion that smartphone sales growth slowed during the second quarter is not shared by rival Counterpoint Research, which said the market grew 19.5 per cent year-on-year to an all time record of 370 million units.
Counterpoint Research added that smartphones accounted for eight out of ten devices shipped during the quarter, and that growing availability of LTE smartphones stimulated sales in the U.S., Europe and China.
While the precise figures vary slightly, all three companies said Samsung remained the world's largest smartphone vendor during the quarter, followed by Apple in second place and Huawei third.
Strategy Analytics director Woody Oh said Huawei "is expanding rapidly across Asia, Europe and North America."
Juniper Research noted that Huawei's focus on expanding beyond China gave the company an advantage over local rival Xiaomi, which was left "vulnerable to the slowing of the Chinese market," a factor that also impacted ZTE during the quarter.
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