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Smartmobe market tops ONE BEEELION a year for first time

You can guess the top two manufacturers, but the next three may surprise

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Market-watcher IDC says humanity managed to crank out 1.8 billion mobile phones last year, and 1,004.2 million of them were smartphones. That's more than double 2011's sales of 494m smartphones.

IDC's sums come from its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which in the fourth quarter of 2013 suggests 284m smartphones were sold. When added to sales in 2013s's first three quarters' that made for just a tick over a billion smartphones.

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 (Units in Millions)

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, 2013 (Units in Millions)

Vendor

2013 Shipment Volumes

2013 Market Share

2012 Shipment Volumes

2012 Market Share

Year-over-Year Change

Samsung

313.9

31.3%

219.7

30.3%

42.9%

Apple

153.4

15.3%

135.9

18.7%

12.9%

Huawei

48.8

4.9%

29.1

4.0%

67.5%

LG

47.7

4.8%

26.3

3.6%

81.1%

Lenovo

45.5

4.5%

23.7

3.3%

91.7%

Others

394.9

39.3%

290.5

40.1%

35.9%

Total

1,004.2

100.0%

725.3

100.0%

38.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2014

Perhaps the most interesting thing about that table is who isn't on it, for a couple of reasons. The first is that ZTE and Sony have dropped off the smartphone list since IDC's sales report for 2012. LG and Lenovo are the new members of the top five. Cunning Reg readers will doubtless have noted Nokia's not on the smartphones list, our second point of interest. Nokia is on the top vendors list for all mobiles, coming in second with 251m phones sold behind Samsung's 446.7m. Just how many of Nokia's sales were Windows phones isn't explained in the abstracted version of the data released to the public, but we can deduce that Nokia's Lumia range didn't manage to sell 45m units during 2013 and therefore accounted for under 4.5 per cent of the smartphone market. IDC has also offered the graph below to illustrate market share, which to Vulture South's mind shows some interesting seasonal surges based on Samsung and Apple release cycles.

A few of the analysts' other observations on the market include:

  • Lenovo having the potential to dethrone Huawei as number three if it gets its act together in developed markets;
  • Sub-$US150 phones are driving sales growth, especially in the developing world
  • Samsung's smartphone sales were down 1.2 per cent compared to 2012's Q4
  • ZTE is is a mere five million smartphone units behind Lenovo … for now

And Apple? The fruity company “had the lowest year-on-year increase of all the leading vendors,” IDC notes. “Now that Apple has finally arrived at China Mobile, it remains to be seen how much Apple will close the gap against Samsung in 2014.” ®

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