Samsung snatches back top smartphone spot from Apple

Samsung overtook Apple to again become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume, capturing a 24 per cent market share in the first quarter of 2015 according to Strategy Analytics.

The South Korea-based company--which has only just reported that first-quarter earnings fell by almost 40 per cent to KRW4.52 trillion won (€3.5 billion/$4.2 billion) due to pressure from Apple and China-based vendors--nonetheless saw its market share drop from 31 per cent a year earlier with total Q1 shipments of 83.2 million.

"Samsung continued to face challenges in Asia and elsewhere, but its global performance has stabilised sufficiently well this quarter to overtake Apple and recapture first position as the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

Apple, which temporarily took the top spot from Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2014, shipped 61.2 million smartphones worldwide and captured 18 per cent market share in the first quarter of 2015, rising from 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2014.

"Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models remain wildly popular in China and worldwide, as consumers upgrade to larger-screen phablets for enhanced data experiences," Mawston added.

Strategy Analytics further reported that total global smartphone shipments grew 21 per cent annually from 285 million units in the first quarter of 2014 to 345 million in Q1 2015.

"Global smartphone growth on an annualised basis has slowed slightly from 33 per cent to 21 per cent during the past year, due to increasing penetration maturity in major markets of the U.S., Europe and China," noted Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics.

Lenovo-Motorola held on to third position with 5.4 per cent of the global smartphone market, but slipped from 7 per cent a year ago. Huawei was in fourth place with a 5 per cent share.

The research company also revealed that total mobile phone shipments increased by 8 per cent annually to reach 445 million in the first quarter of 2015. It noted that growth is being driven by healthy demand for 3G and 4G models across Asia, Africa and the Americas.

In the overall mobile phone market, Samsung's sales fell 12 per cent year on year to 99 million, giving the Korean vendor a 22 per cent market share. Apple, on the other hand, recorded 40 per cent growth and captured a 14 per cent share of the global mobile phone market. Microsoft was in third place with sales of 33.7 million, down 28 per cent from 47 million a year earlier.

"Microsoft's 8 per cent global mobile phone market share is sitting near an all-time low. Microsoft continues to lose ground in feature phones, while its Lumia smartphone portfolio is in a holding pattern awaiting the launch of new Windows 10 software later this year," said Ken Hyers, director at Strategy Analytics.

For more:
- see this Strategy Analytics release on mobile phones
- see this Strategy Analytics release on smartphones
- see this Bloomberg article

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