Xiaomi’s stunning fourth-quarter performance in the Chinese smartphone market has seen it usurp Samsung at the top of the charts. Apple, meanwhile, ended the year strongly.
Indeed Xiaomi’s rise has been immense for the past two years now, breaking onto the global scene through its popularity in the world’s most populous country.
It ended 2014 with one-eighth of the entire Chinese market, growing almost 200pc to do so. Samsung, however, dropped 22.4pc to finish just behind – Lenovo (11.2pc), Huawei (9.8pc) and Coolpad (9.4pc) rounded out the top five.
Apple’s Q4 was impressive, on the back of strong iPhone 6 sales, but the global phone giant still trailed overall over the course of the year. The iPhone 6 release did, though, help drive up the overall smartphone sales in the country, with the “larger screen sized phones also helped to contribute to the increase in shipments,” says IDC’s Tay Xiaohan.
A sorry demise
However it’s Samsung’s demise that is most significant. Samsung profits of US$4.9bn in Q4 2014 were down over a quarter on the year previous and part of a worrying trend at the Korean company.
Key to this drop in profits was an even worse fall for its mobile division, with a drop of 64pc. Globally, there’s nothing between Samsung and Apple for the total number of smartphones sold throughout the world, so losing share in China, where it has dominated its American rival, will be crushing for the company.
Considering, too, that profit in smartphone selling remains almost entirely the domain of Apple, Samsung is currently operating in an era of turmoil. According to analysts, Apple bagged 93pc of all smartphone profit, globally, in Q4 of last year.
Xiaomi’s entrance into the smartphone world has popularised cheap devices after the low-cost seller’s dominance at the bottom end of the market caught many unawares. According to IDC, flash sales of its devices played a significant role in its rise to the top.
Xiaomi Note image, via Shutterstock