New numbers out from Strategy Analytics show that smartphone shipments grew at 33 percent globally in Q1 2014. However market leaders Apple and Samsung lost share to Chinese handset makers Huawei and Lenovo.
Strategy Analytics’ numbers must be viewed with caution however because they’re based on the unreliable “shipments” metric and methodology. Shipments don’t equal sales to end users and certainly don’t equal usage and traffic in the real world.
According to the data, Samsung’s shipments-share loss was its first decline since late 2009. The lower end of the market is where competition is most intense, with Chinese makers gaining traction. Nokia has suffered there too.
Source: Strategy Analytics
Apple continues to be weak in developing markets and at the smartphone entry level because of the lack of a low-priced offering. The 5c was not as full-featured as the 5s and not aggressively priced enough to satisfy that “entry level” slot. However, Apple arguably doesn’t want to compete at the low-margin, low end of the market.
Together, Apple and Samsung had 47 percent of global smartphone shipments in Q1, which is down from 50 percent a year ago. Hardly a collapse, but an indication that companies such as Lenovo and Huawei will likely continue to make gains.
Lenovo’s acquisition of the Motorola hardware business from Google is also likely to boost the company’s position in the market, perhaps significantly. Indeed, Lenovo is probably the only company that can challenge Samsung at both the high and low ends of the Android smartphone market.