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Global smartphone market Q3 2014 – Xiaomi up to third

Xiaomi will probably spend the money on its international expansion

Telecoms.com tracks the top 10 smartphone vendor’s quarterly shipments through a combination of their own published numbers, analyst numbers and, when neither are available, our own research and estimates. We collate them in a table to make it easy to track global smartphone trends.

Q3 2014 saw the underlying trend of Chinese vendors taking an increasing share of the global market, thanks largely to growth in their domestic market. Based almost entirely on domestic sales, Xiaomi is now the world’s third largest smartphone vendor by shipment volume.

Lenovo has only made very tentative steps outside of China, but remains in fourth. Once Lenovo completes its acquisition of Motorola it should consistently be the third-largest smartphone vendor, but will still have a way to go before it catches Apple at number 2.

Apple had a solid quarter, and its shipments were an improvement on the same quarter a year ago, implying the new iPhone 6s are relatively popular, but its share of the total market is struggling to get much above 12%. The reason for this is that most smartphone growth is coming from lower price tiers in developing markets and Apple doesn’t have a product for them.

Samsung’s share is declining for a similar reason but, unlike Apple, it offers products at all price tiers. Samsung’s challenge is two-fold: the declining appeal of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones and its disadvantages against local players in China. 25% is still an enviable share of the global market, but it was a lot higher a year ago.

Of the top 10, 6 are Chinese vendors and they account for over a quarter of global shipments. Furthermore a large proportion of ‘others’ is comprised by Chinese vendors such as Oppo, Tianyu, etc so, in total, Chinese vendors may account for around half of all global smartphone shipments.

Lastly it’s worth noting the absence of Amazon’s Fire phone, which started selling in Q3. It turns out Amazon hasn’t sold anywhere near as many as it had hoped and may end up writing off as much as a quarter of a billion dollars on the misguided launch. An Amazon exec has recently gone on the record admitting they made the phone too expensive and, of course, we hate to say “I told you so”.

Q32014 smartphone tracker

  • Samsung Electronics


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