Smartphone shipments set new records in Q3: IDC

Any reports of a slowing smartphone market appear to be premature. Technology research firm IDC Corp. is reporting 25.2 per cent growth in global smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2014, with competition growing beyond just the Samsung/Apple rivalry.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 327.6 million units in Q3, up 25.2 per cent from shipments in the same period one year ago and up 8.7 per cent over shipments in Q2. It’s the second consecutive quarter of shipments surpassing the 300 million unit threshold.

“Despite rumors of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes,” said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in a statement. “We’ve finally reached a point where most developed markets are experiencing single-digit growth while emerging markets are still growing at more than 30 per cent collectively. In these markets, smartphone price points are making mobile computing possible where we once expected feature phones to remain dominant. This is great news for overall volumes, but the challenge has now become how to make money on devices that are quickly becoming commodity products. Outside of Apple, many are struggling to do this.”

While Samsung remains firmly atop the vendor leaderboard with 78.1 million shipments, over 35 million more than its nearest competitor, its shipment volume actually declined year over year by 8.2 per cent. Demand for its high-end devices is cooling, and it has been relying on this segment.

With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it was a strong quarter for Apple, with shipments growing by 16.1 per cent to 39.3 million. Driving its results though is continued sustained demand for its older iPhone 5S and 5C models.

Chinese-focused vendor Xiaomi debuted in the top five at No. 3 with 17.3 million units shipped, good for 5.3 per cent of the market. It launched its high-end Mi4 smartphone in August to complement its mid and value offerings. Rounding out the top five were Lenovo and LG.

“The next three vendors – Xiaomi, Lenovo, and LG Electronics – all posted market-beating growth and with markedly different strategies,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team, in a statement. “This shows that there is still room to compete in this market, whether it be in the low end as Lenovo has done, at the high end where Xiaomi competes, or in both as LG Electronics has shown. Beyond the top five, there are a number of other vendors achieving similar results.”


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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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