Samsung leads Apple in smartphone sales but Android challengers are growing

1 May 2015

Samsung phone, via Silicon Republic

After a difficult end of year for Samsung, it has pulled away from Apple to once again lead the smartphone sales market, although a growing number of competitors are eating into its position at the top.

Apple’s dominance in the final months of 2014, powered by the successful launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, saw it match Samsung for total shipments.

That was an astonishing achievement when you consider the breadth of products the South Korean company sells in comparison to Apple.

However, now that those sales have died down – relatively speaking, that is, as Apple’s recently released figures showed it to be leading the premium end of the market – Samsung has regained its position at the top.

It now represents 24pc of the entire smartphone market, almost 8pc more than Apple, although it is down from 31pc this time last year.

Interestingly, it isn’t just Apple eating into its lead (the Cupertino company only jumped 2pc on last year’s numbers).

Instead, it’s the growing number of competitors at the lower end of the market that are making big moves. That’s because overall sales figures in the early months of 2015 skyrocketed by 21pc, while Samsung’s numbers have actually dropped.

Lenovo-Motorola stayed third, despite dropping from 7pc market share to 5pc, while Huawei saw a 30pc increase in units shipped, coming in just behind in fourth. Huawei is expanding rapidly online in China and through retailers across Africa, enabling it to become an emerging powerhouse in developing regions.

Those below the top four of Samsung, Apple, Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei are fairly motoring, jumping from 119m units shipped in Q1 2014, to a huge 164m in Q1 2015.

Somewhere in that pile of chasers sits Xiaomi, a company that is a young as it is impressive, completely ripping up the form book to siphon swathes of the bulging China market for itself.

Global smartphone vendor shipments and market share

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic