Samsung stays top, despite rise of rivals in second quarter

Samsung looks set to lose ground to its rivals in the second quarter of 2014, as sales figures for May show the company's lead was eroded by rivals Apple, Lenovo, and Motorola.

Counterpoint Technology Market Research said its regular review of mobile phone sell through (end-user sales) shows Samsung lost share in all segments and price points of the market in May, and also lost ground in key markets including China and the U.S. In contrast, Apple gained share in the U.S., Lenovo attracted customers with new models, and Motorola's position improved following its Moto G launch, the company noted.

However, despite the pressure from big-name rivals, Counterpoint noted it is smaller, local, vendors in emerging markets that stole the most share from Samsung in May.

The good news for Samsung is that it leads the way in LTE smartphones, with a share of 38 per cent compared to 29 per cent for second-placed Apple. Counterpoint said LTE was included in 35 per cent of smartphones sold in May.

Europe and unnamed emerging markets enjoyed improvements in end-user sales in May, helping lift overall sell through during the month, albeit "only slightly", according to Counterpoint. The company said China, Japan and South Korea displayed weaknesses in end-user sales.

While Samsung maintained its global smartphone lead, Apple's iPhone 5s was the best-selling device during May, previous research from Counterpoint shows. The companies' devices account for eight of the top 10 sales by model, with Chinese vendor Xiaomi taking the final two slots.

Counterpoint's talk of a slowdown in global smartphone sales is in line with other research companies.

CCS Insight on Monday predicted slowing tablet sales could cut growth from 71 per cent in 2013 to 14 per cent in 2014, and it previously predicted slowing sales growth for smartphones in the UK.

ABI Research senior practice director, Nick Spencer, recently noted smartphone growth is "beginning to fall," but said vendors still have plenty of new subscribers to target, "with smartphone penetration of mobile subscribers under 30 per cent worldwide."

For more:
- see Counterpoint's market overview
- read the company's smartphone report

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