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Smartphone shipments soar in Q3 amid fierce competition

By Heather Wright, Thu 29 Oct 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Smartphone shipments clocked up 355.2 million shipments globally in Q3 – the second highest level for a single quarter – according to preliminary data from IDC.

The analyst firm says shipments were up 6.8% on the same period last year, despite lower than expected iPhone shipments and Android flagship introductions from several top-tier OEMs failing to hit the consumer sweet spot with pricing.

Anthony Scarsella, IDC Mobile Phones research manager, says the third quarter saw a substantial emphasis on flagship devices, as vendors tried to outclass each other in both features and design.

“New flagship models translated to fiercer competition at the high-end for most players, as many will try to challenge both Samsung and Apple for a place among the elite,” Scarsella says.

However, he says, despite the glitz and glamour at the high end, IDC expects the bulk of volume and growth to again come from low to mid-range handsets, particularly in emerging markets.

On the vendor side, Samsung again lead the way, shipping 84.5 million units and claiming 23.8% market share. IDC says Samsung’s ‘untraditional’ August launch for the Note series and new S6 Edge+ – beating Apple to the punch – saw the vendor gain stronger than normal September shipments as the new iPhone was yet to be released.

Apple, meanwhile, shipped 48.0 million units for 13.5% market share – a 22.2% year on year increase – with its new iPhones helping drive Q3 shipments.

“With a record-breaking 13 million iPhone 6S and 6S Plus units shipped during launch week, the two new models continue to capture upgraders and Android converts alike in many key markets,” IDC says. Older models also sold ‘vigorously’ during the quarter, thanks to recent price cuts across all models.

Hauwei took third place, with 7.5% market share after shipping 26.5 million units – a massive 60.9% increase on a year ago. The company has focused its efforts on the mid-to-high range with nearly one-third of the quarterly shipments in that segment.

Huawei says devices like the Honor 6 Plus and Ascend P8 helped grow the mid to high range by 25% from last year.

Lenovo continued to fight its way to the top of the smartphone market, with help from its Motorola acquisition. Q3 saw Lenovo and Motorola branded smartphones garner 5.3% of the market, with 18.8 million shipments, an 11.1% year on year increase.

Rounding out the top five was Xiaomi, which shipped 18.3 million smartphones in Q3.

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