Strategy Analytics: Smartphone shipments growth at 5-year low

Strategy Analytics added its voice to warnings that smart device shipment growth is slowing, noting that increases in smartphone shipments in the current quarter are at their lowest level for five years.

The research company, whose findings chime with those of other research houses, estimates that smartphone growth has halved over the past 12 months from 49 per cent a year ago to 27 per cent currently. Much of the decline is due to maturation of markets including Europe and North America, offset by increased shipments in Africa and Asia.

Despite the warning, Strategy Analytics noted that smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2014 hit a record 295 million units. Google's Android operating system dominated the shipments with a record 85 per cent market share during the quarter, which the research company noted came at the expense of every major rival platform.

Apple's iOS remained the second-largest platform in the second quarter of 2014, although its share fell from 13.4 per cent to 11.9 per cent year-on-year. Microsoft's Windows Phone ranked in third place despite its share of the market falling from 3.8 per cent share in the second quarter of 2013 to 2.4 per cent in the recent period. The BlackBerry operating system's market share declined from 2.4 percent to 0.6 per cent year-on-year, placing the platform in fourth place in Strategy Analytics' list.

The research company also said that Android's rivals will need to do something revolutionary to make up lost ground and prevent the smartphone OS market becoming a one-horse race.

Apple is tipped as the most likely challenger as it prepares to push into the big-screen 'phablet' market (large screen devices that sit between tablet PCs and smartphones in terms of size). Strategy Analytics also noted Mozilla's Firefox platform could gain share as it expands into the ultra low-cost smartphone segment in the back half of 2014.

Mozilla was one of several companies that made announcements around so-called 'affordable' smartphones during the Mobile World Congress trade fair in February, detailing plans to push prices as low as $25 (€19).

Samsung, meanwhile, recently postponed plans to launch its first commercial smartphone running the Tizen operating system--a platform backed by the South Korean vendor along with Huawei, Intel, ZTE, Orange, and Vodafone. The Z smartphone was due to hit shelves in the third quarter.

For more:
- see Strategy Analytics' market share blog

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