Global smartphone market Q4 2014 – Apple and Samsung share top spot 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.

While opinion about unpublished numbers, such as Samsung’s, will always be divided among analysts, it’s clear that Apple’s stellar Q4 has brought its shipment numbers very close to Samsung’s. This isn’t a total surprise as Q4 is always Apple’s blow-out quarter for the iPhone, but considering Samsung operates across all price tiers, while Apple is premium-only, it’s still quite an achievement.

Samsung will also be concerned that its smartphone sales have essentially been flat for three quarters of the year, proving the Galaxy S5 has failed to totally capture the public imagination. You can bet the Korean giant is pulling out all the stops on the development of the S6, which is likely to be unveiled at MWC in a month, but it will need to come up with something pretty special to win back customers who defected to Apple of one of the Chinese handset makers.

On that note, analysts have now started counting Lenovo and Motorola shipments together, inevitably moving the combined operation into third spot, replacing Xiaomi, which experienced the first pause in its otherwise relentless growth. But Lenovorola still only just beat Huawei, which had a huge quarter of its own, as did TCL Alcatel.

This quarter we’ve expanded the global smartphone shipment chart to encompass the whole of 2014 and highlighted in red where the numbers are our own estimates, rather than published or industry analyst numbers. We’re still quite early in the quarterly cycle and we may published revised numbers sometime in February.

Q4 2014 preliminary smartphone shipments

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