For the first time since 2009, consumer electronics giant Samsung saw its share of the global mobile phone market slip, falling to 31pc from 32pc last year.
New figures out from Strategy Analytics reveal global smartphone shipments grew by 33pc annually to reach 285m units in the first quarter.
Samsung and Apple lost traction while low-cost phone makers Huawei and Lenovo steadied and strengthened their share of the global market.
Samsung shipped 89m smartphones worldwide and captured 31pc marketshare in Q1 2014, dipping slightly from 32pc a year earlier.
This was Samsung’s first annual marketshare loss in the smartphone category since the fourth quarter of 2009.
Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher end of the smartphone market and from Chinese brands, such as Huawei, at the lower-end.
Apple grew a below-average 17pc annually and shipped 43.7m iPhones worldwide for 15pc marketshare in Q1 2014, falling from the 17pc level recorded during Q1 2013.
Apple remains strong in the premium smartphone segment, but a lack of presence in the entry-level category continues to cost it lost volumes in fast-growing emerging markets, such as Latin America.
They came from the East
The combined global smartphone marketshare of Samsung and Apple has slipped from 50pc in Q1 2013 to 47pc in Q1 2014.
There is more competition than ever coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei remained steady with 5pc global smartphone marketshare in Q1 2014, while Lenovo has increased its global presence from 4pc to 5pc share during the past year.
Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while Lenovo continues to grow aggressively outside China into new regions, such as Russia. If the recent Lenovo takeover of Motorola is approved by various governments in the coming months, this will eventually create an even larger competitive force that Samsung and Apple must contend with in the second half of this year.