According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 281.5 million smartphones worldwide, up 28.6% from the 218.8 million units in 1Q13 but down -2.8% from the 289.6 million units shipped in 4Q13. In the worldwide mobile phone market (inclusive of smartphones), vendors shipped 448.6 million units, up 3.9% from the 431.8 million units shipped 1Q13 but down -9.0% from the 492.8 million units shipped in 4Q13. Smartphones accounted for 62.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q14, up from the 50.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q13.
Smartphone Vendor Highlights:
● Samsung began 2014 exactly where it started and finished 2013: as the undisputed worldwide leader in the smartphone market. By the end of the quarter, Samsung had shipped more smartphones than the next four vendors combined. While the company relied on its high-end smartphones within mature markets and its deep selection of entry and mid-range models in emerging markets, Samsung unveiled and launched its flagship Galaxy S5 within select markets.
● Apple reached a new first quarter record, breaching the 40 million unit mark. The company saw double-digit growth in Japan as well as across multiple developing markets, including Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia. Still, this made for the lowest year-over-year improvement among the leading vendors. What remains to be seen is when – not if – Apple's rumored large-screen models will arrive on the market, filling a gap in the company's portfolio that has been exploited by the competition.
● Huawei kept its third place position worldwide, beating out Lenovo by fewer than a million units. Huawei's aim for 2014 is to ship 80 million smartphones worldwide, and contributing to that is the company's increasing emphasis on large-screen smartphones. Huawei revealed its latest addition, the Ascend Mate 2 4G, which features a 6.1-inch screen, one of the largest screen sizes in the industry.
● Lenovo posted the largest year-over-year increase among the leading vendors, with continued success in Asia/Pacific and a nominal presence elsewhere This will quickly change once the acquisition of Motorola is completed, thereby giving the company a footprint in markets – including North America and Western Europe – where it has been notably absent.
● LG continued as the number five vendor worldwide and its 12.3 million units were enough to stave off multiple Chinese vendors, including Coolpad, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Driving the company's success was its emphasis on LTE-powered smartphones, including the G2, Nexus 5, and the G Flex. At the same time, the company saw the continued success of its mid-range F-series and entry-level L-series devices.
IDC expects total smartphone shipment volumes to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014, up 19.3% year over year from the 1.0 billion units shipped in 2013. It points to Apple's entry into China and the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft as interesting areas to watch.
Take a look at the chart below for more details...