Smartphones Now 66% of Global Mobile Shipments; Xiaomi Fourth-Largest Manufacturer

In an increasingly upward trend, smartphones now account for 66% of global mobile phone shipments, and are on track to show total sales of 1.2 billion units in 2014. According to figures published by research firm Gartner, there were a total of 301 million Smartphones shipped in Q3 2014 with the two top leading manufacturers, Samsung and Apple, accounting for 37% of total shipments combined. Overall mobile phone shipments were 456 million in the quarter.

Apple has increased its market share to 12.7% while Samsung remains on top despite a 8% drop in yearly market share. 

There were some interesting trends that stood out in Gartner’s report. Apple increased its market share to 12.7%, with 38 million devices, on the back of strong demand for the iPhone 6. Huawei also saw a slight gain to consolidate third spot with 16 million devices or 5.3% of the total pie. Samsung’s position at the top of global smartphone shipments remains strong with 73 million smartphones sold in Q3 2014, giving it a 24.4% market share. However, the figure is down almost 8 percentage points since last year.

The surprise entrant into the top 5 was Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi which posted a 4% growth rate on a year-on-year basis. Coming in just slightly behind Huawei, Xiaomi posted net shipments of almost 16 million devices, with a market share of 5.2%. In a highly competitive smartphone ecosphere this is encouraging news for the company, and gives credence to the view that their poaching of top Google executive, Hugo Barra, is paying off. Xiaomi is now the top supplier of smartphones in China.

With 16 million devices sold, Xiaomi is now the top smartphone vendor in China

Gartner points to a change in strategy for Xiaomi which has also contributed in making its smartphones so wildly popular. As sales in mature markets weaken due to saturation, major manufacturers have been slow to target emerging markets as the next bastion of growth. Xiaomi, however, has taken advantage of their slow movement and aggressively marketed phones in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. With total sales in these regions recording a growth of 50% on a yearly basis, it is clear that this strategy is working.

Future predictions from Gartner are that Apple will increase its sales momentum by recording its “biggest ever” fourth-quarter sales on the back of two new models of the iPhone. However, Chinese manufacturers will also be making ‘key moves’ with low-cost LTE phones an attractive option in emerging markets.

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