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Apple gains market share in slowing smartphone market

By Heather Wright
Fri 21 Aug 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Samsung is losing ground to Apple according to the latest global mobile phone market report which also shows that smartphone sales have recorded their slowest growth since 2015.

Gartner’s report on the worldwide phone market shows a 13.5% increase in smartphone sales year on year for the second quarter of 2015, with worldwide sales hitting 330 million units.

Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 446 million units, with flat performance at 0.4%.

Anshul Gupta, Gartner research director, says while demand for lower-cost 3G and 4G smartphones continued to drive growth in emerging markets, overall smartphone sales remained mixed region by region.

Emerging Asia/Pacific (excluding China), Eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa were the fastest growing regions, driven by good performance from Chinese and local vendors. However, in China itself, sales fell for the first time year over year, recording 4% decline. China represents 30% of global smartphone sales.

In the ongoing Apple versus Samsung battle, Apple lead the charge. Despite releasing its new S6 models, Samsung’s premium phones continued to be challenged by Apple’s large-screen iPhones, losing 4.3 percentage points in market share and declining 5.3% in unit sales in Q2 of 2015.

Apple meanwhile surged 36% in sales, gaining 2.4 percentage points in market share to close the gap slightly on Samsung, which now holds 21.9% market share versus Apple’s 14.6%.

Gartner says Apple recorded strong iPhone replacements in both emerging and mature markets, particularly in China where total iPhone sales grew 68% to 11.9 million sales.

The research company says Apple’s double-digit growth in the high-end segment continued to negatively impact its rivals’ premium phone sales and profit margins.

This saw many vendors having to ‘realign’ their portfolios to remain competitive in the midrange and low-end smartphone segments. The realignment resulted in price wars and discounting to clear up inventory for new devices planned for the second half of 2015.

Huawei recorded the highest sales growth rate at 46.3% thanks to strong overseas sales and 4G smartphone sales in China, and sits in third place overall with 7.8% market share. Lenovo and Xiaomi round out the top five.

On the operating system side, Android too, suffered, recording its lowest year on year growth at 11%, as it was impacted by weak performance of China and the strong performance in China of Apple.

However the operating system still dominates with 82.2% market share, globally and Gupta says the low barrier to entry into the Android segment will continue to encourage an array of new players, adding to further disruptions coming from Chinese manufacturing and innovative internet players with new business models that are not reliant on hardware margins.

Microsoft continued to struggle to generate wider demand for Windows Phone devices, even at the lower end and holds just 2.8% market share.

“In light of Microsoft’s recent cuts in its mobile hardware business, we’ll await signs of its long-term commitment in the smartphone market,” Gupta says.

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