The festival seasons, including Christmas and New Year holidays, saw a boost in worldwide smartphones sale, setting new records at an all time high, all thanks to the various product offerings at numerous prices from both, the established seller and the new ones. Preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, shows that smartphone vendors shipped a total of 399.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2015 (4Q15), resulting in 5.7% growth when compared to the 377.8 million units shipped in the last quarter of 2014. In 2015, the global smartphone market saw a total of 1432.9 million units shipped, making it the highest year of shipments on record 10.1% as compared to the 1301.7 million units shipped in 2014.
Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said, “Usually, the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei’s strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand,” He further added, “While there is a lot of uncertainty around the economic slowdown in China, Huawei is one of the few brands from China that has successfully diversified worldwide, with almost half of its shipments going outside of China. Huawei is poised to be in a good position to hold onto a strong number 3 over the next year.”
iPhone maker, Apple continues to make headlines in the quarter as the 4Q15 represented its most successful quarter. The company saw an increase by 1% with 74.8 million units shipped as compared to the 74.5 million shipped last year. In 2015, Apple saw a minimal growth year over year with the market share climbing to 16.2%, up from 14.8% in 2014. China saw a growth up to 18% in which 50% of the owners were buying for the first time. Among the BRIC countries, India saw the biggest growth with 76%. The important point to be noted is that even though with an increase in average selling price (ASP), Apple still continues to grow. The ASPs climbed to $691, up from $687 one year ago.
Anthony Scarsella, Research Manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said, “With initial Apple shipment estimates all over the map, Apple assured the public that demand for its premium smartphones is still alive and kicking. A new record-setting quarter for Apple indicates consumers continued demand for Apple’s latest offerings regarding upgraded hardware and software. Features such as a more widely accepted Apple Pay, increased performance, and the innovative Force Touch technology, continue to set the iPhone apart from the competition.”
Scarsella continues, “To combat Apple at the high-end, competing vendors will need to bring value to consumers to stay relevant in the market. With heavy saturation in many mature smartphone markets such as the U.S., Europe, and China, many vendors have placed a renewed focus on pushing premium-looking mid-tier devices as a new value proposition to consumers in both developed and emerging markets. Samsung has found success in this segment with its A-Series, and Huawei with its Honor brand. We expect similar devices to appear in 2016 from a variety of vendors that will focus on affordable value without neglecting performance and aesthetics.”
Let’s have a look at the top five vendors:
Even Though, Apple continues to make headlines, Samsung remained the leader in the global smartphone market for the quarter. In 4Q15, the company saw an increase of 14% from last year as it shipped 85.6 million units. However, Samsung saw an increase up to 2.1% from last year as it shipped 324.8 million shipments in 2015 as compared to 318.2 million shipments in 2014. The company is facing a stiff competition, both at high and low level with Apple at the former and end and manufacturers like Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE at the latter level.
Apple reached an all-time high with 74.8 million units shipped, an increase of 0.3 million more than the same quarter over a year ago. The increase in this quarter is particularly due to high demand of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, mostly from China and U.S. This lead to a 20.2% growth as 231.5 million units were shipped in the year from the 192.7 million units shipped in 2014. The main reason behind Apple’s growth and attracting Android users is the combination of new features such as Apple Pay and Force Touch, combined with a new Rose Gold color, better performance, and increased speed.
Huawei with a strongest year-over-year growth among the top five vendors at 37% has emerged as the biggest winner in the quarter. With over 100 million smartphones shipment, Huawei is the fourth mobile phone vendor in the history to do so after Nokia, Samsung and Apple.
It has been a year since Lenovo acquired Motorola and the company is still trying to find its feet as it faces stiff competition from smaller, local competitors at the low end. The Motorola brand came up with no groundbreaking features and is still banking on Moto G and Moto X. Lenovo has decided to rename high-end Motorola devices as just “Moto” and the name “Vibe” to represent the low end. Lenovo has put its complete faith in Motorola by giving them the go ahead to design, develop, and manufacture smartphone products.
Even Though, Xiaomi has increased sales in India and have launched the product in Brazil, it still is leaning heavily on the Chinese market for growth. The company saw 90% domestic growth on average compared to the international market. Xiaomi’s bulk of shipment rest on low-end devices from Redmi line, although the company is trying hard to transit from low-end range to midrange users. The company’s sales saw an increase in the gap from the 6th position LG.