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Smartphone sales crossed a record 1.4 billion in 2015

The smartphone industry is witnessing a slower growth rate as the overall shipment of mobile devices increased only by 12 percent in 2015. While overall global shipments surpassed 1.4 billion devices during the last year, the growth percentage the fourth quarter grew only six percent in comparison to the year before.

According to data from International Data Corporation (IDC), the slow growth can be attributed to the fact that most people in major mobile markets already own smartphones, so the bubbling phase from new sales that we saw over the last few years cannot be matched.

Here are some highlights from the fourth quarter data analysis.

Among OEMs, Samsung continues to lead sales by having shipped 81.3 million units globally in Q4, which is up nine percent from the same period in 2014. However, Apple has felt the pinch of the slow growth as it only managed to shipped 74.8 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2015 in comparison to 74.5 million iPhones it sold in 2014. The research company advised that Apple should look to emerging markets such as India to ensure a steady growth.

Coming in at third place is Huawei with 32.4 million smartphones moved in the fourth quarter of 2015. While Huawei took the third spot, it is still over 50% less than the actual amount of units sold by Apple and Samsung, which are still the two major manufacturers in the smartphone market. But Huawei managed to ship 100 million smartphones for 2015 which had only been done by three other companies prior(Apple, Samsung, and Nokia). The astronomical 37% growth rate Huawei experienced in Q4 for year-over-year growth can be attributed to its budget Honor line as well as the partnership with Google and the creation of the Nexus 6P.

Lenovo jumped into fourth place with its purchase of Motorola so it did see a major bump in sales, year-over-year, with a 47% gain. Lenovo is also still sorting through how it will handle its Motorola line of devices but things are slowly becoming clearer. The name Motorola will be dropped from devices and replaced with ‘Moto’, and the Moto E and G will be dropped.

In fifth place remained Xiaomi that sold 18.2 million phones compared to 16.5 million units the year before.

Q4 2015 Preliminary Data (Units in Millions):

Vendor 4Q15 Shipment Volumes 4Q15 Market Share 4Q14 Shipment Volumes 4Q14 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
1. Samsung 85.6 21.4% 75.1 19.9% 14.0%
2. Apple 74.8 18.7% 74.5 19.7% 0.4%
3. Huawei 32.4 8.1% 23.6 6.3% 37.0%
4. Lenovo 20.2 5.1% 14.1 3.7% 43.6%
5. Xiaomi 18.2 4.6% 16.5 4.4% 10.0%
Others 168.3 42.1% 174.0 46.1% -3.3%
Total 399.5 100.0% 377.8 100.0% 5..7%
Lenovo + Motorola 20.2 8.1% 24.7 6.5% -18.1%

Year-over-year growth Samsung struggled the most with just 2.1% growth worldwide. While Apple did struggle to grow in Q4 of last year, it still grew an impressive 20.2% which can be attributed to its huge popularity in China with the iPhone 6S and 6S plus. Apple has recently taken a big hit to its stock valuation since the majority of its revenue is generated by the iPhone and the fourth quarter did show that it may has reached its saturation point. That is until the highly anticipated iPhone 7 comes out this fall.

Huawei was the clear winner of 2015 with a massive 44.3% growth rate. It is the first Chinese smartphone manufacturer to expand heavily into the U.S. with its Nexus 6P. And Huawei looks to expand even further with the premium $200 Honor 5X which is due out in just a couple of days.

Xiaomi, which is hugely popular globally, relies mainly on China for its sales and grew an impressive 22.8% in 2015. It did manage to sell almost 71 million smartphones, but fell short of its CEO’s goal of 80 million.

Overall it appears the smartphone market has reached a saturation point with slower growth, but there’s always global factors involved in smartphone purchases like economic slowdowns.

Calendar Year 2015 Preliminary Data (Units in Millions):

Vendor 2015 Shipment Volumes 2015 Market Share 2014 Shipment Volumes 2014 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
1. Samsung 324.8 22.7% 318.2 24.4% 2.1%
2. Apple 231.5 16.2% 192.7 14.8% 20.2%
3. Huawei 106.6 7.4% 73.8 5.7% 44.3%
4. Lenovo 74.0 5.2% 59.4 4.6% 24.5%
5. Xiaomi 70.8 4.9% 57.7 4.4% 22.8%
Others 625.2 43.6% 599.9 46.1% 4.2%
Total 1,432.9 100.0% 1,301.7 100.0% 10.1%
Lenovo + Motorola 73.9 5.16% 93.7 7.20% -21.1%


Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2016

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