Samsung shipments hit, as smaller manufacturers continue to prosper

by: Robert TriggsJuly 30, 2014
smartphones One x Optimus G pro galaxy S3 sony Xperia aa 1 1600

Figures collected and published by research firm IDC show that is has been another 12 months of strong growth for the global smartphones market. Shipments have grown by 23 percent compared with the same quarter last year, with total smartphone shipments reaching 295.3 million in Q2 2014, compared with 240 million in Q2 2013. However, it seems that the biggest players in the market are starting to lose out to smaller vendors.

Out of the industry’s five largest manufacturers, Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Lenovo, and LG, Samsung is the only company to have shipped fewer smartphones in the second quarter of this year than they did in the same quarter last year. Samsung’s worldwide shipments fell by 3.9 percent year-on-year, which is expected to be reflected in Samsung’s earnings report due out tomorrow.


Chinese manufacture Huawei couldn’t be painting a more different picture, the company managed to increase its shipments by an astonishing 95 percent. Huawei’s growth stems from strong homeland support and global demand for its lower-cost Y-series products. LG’s L Series helped spur shipments up by 20 percent, whilst Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola and strong presence in China saw shipments increase by 39 percent. Apple is also reportedly having some success in the BRIC nations, and continued appeal in the premium market saw global shipments grow by 12 percent.

Whilst this initially seems like particularly bad news for Samsung, we can see a slightly broader trend by looking at shipments over the course of the past year.

Smartphone Shipments Q2 2014

Samsung was experiencing steady growth until the second quarter of this year, suggesting that its new flagship Galaxy S5 hasn’t quite performed up to expectations, but it is far too soon to call this a downward trend yet. Apple has also shown a similar drop off in shipments over the past two quarters, indicating a fall in momentum after the iPhone 5S, which was released last September. However, Apple is leading up to the launch of its new iPhone 6, and the company typically has more cyclical sales than Samsung, which has a more constant stream of new products.

On the other hand, smaller manufacturers, particularly low-cost Chinese vendors, have experienced consistent growth over the past year, see Lenovo and Huawei. Manufacturers outside of the big five have also seen extraordinary growth in smartphone shipments over the past 12 months, and particularly in the second quarter of 2014. According to IDC’s Ryan Reith, “right now we have more than a dozen vendors that are capable of landing in the top 5 next quarter”, reaffirming assumptions that consumers are continuing to move away from the big two, when you look at the global picture.

Smartphone Market Shares Q2 2014

Turning finally to market share, we can see that that Samsung has experienced a rather large drop in its global share of the market, with Apple also experiencing a slight decline in its share compared with last year. Again we can see that Lenovo and Huawei have increase the size of their market shares over the past year. Importantly, the big five combined now account for less of the total market than they did a year ago.

Smartphone Market Share Q2 2013 to Q2 2014

Samsung’s share is also at its lowest point in the past five quarters, as is Apple’s. As we saw from regional sales statistics back in early July, the majority of smartphone growth is coming from Android manufactures. This trend is particularly strong in emerging markets, such as China, where manufacturers that are well established in the West and Japan are not performing as well as home-grown vendors, such as Huawei.

The Android explosion currently taking place in Asian and South American markets has opened the door for new manufactures to grab themselves substantial portions of the global market. Samsung will need to find a way to better fit its products to the demands of these growing markets, or else this trend in vendor diversification is likely to continue.

  • Shark Bait

    A dynamic marketplace is always better, plus Samsung has been poor lately IMO

    • Anonymousfella

      Fingers crossed for a mind-blowing Note 4!

      • Shark Bait

        its about time they did something mind blowing. To me, Samsung hasn’t done anything great since the s2 and original note, that was their glory year! a company with those resources and that much cash should be capable of more

        • TheCrusader

          true … my S2 is still up and running like day 1 … and i bought it on launch day …
          it’s running CM11, though ^^ Samsung FW has always been crappy.

        • patrik

          Sony, HTC or LG hasn’t done anything great since… ever?

          • Shark Bait

            HTC, metal and dual camera’s
            LG, specs and nexus
            Sony, design and camera and waterproof

            I think they all have their great points, where as Samsung had been very meh since the s2

          • Patrik

            Metal has been done before, dual cameras are shit.
            LG has bad design, bad screens and bad software.
            Sony has damn ugly design and shitty camera.

            You know nothing, obviously.

          • Shark Bait

            Your an idiot , these are all opinions. Go home fan boy

          • salutcemoi

            Samsung has a better camera than HTC and LG
            Metal? what’s the point if you are gonna put your HTC in a plastic case anyway, and metal heats up and scratches easily, not to mention reception is better on “platic” phones.
            The S5 is waterproof too

          • abazigal

            Metal heating up is a good thing – that means it’s helping your phone dissipate heat faster and prevent thermal throttling. Plus, I use my iPhone 5s naked – no case or screen protector, because I just love the way it feels in my hand.

          • Frank Bank

            u know st wait my friend and you will see htc gonna be a good phone

        • Anonymousfella

          I think they have a lot of awesome tech in their labs but didn’t bring it because playing the iterative- upgrade game every year like Apple brought them good profit till now. Now that profits have taken a nosedive, they’ll change their strategy.

    • Frank Bank

      yep n HTC gonna take over

  • Blowntoaster

    it’s clear that more affordable mid to low tier devices are favored in emerging markets over high end spec monsters.

    Samsung needs to put more focus into their low to mid tier products. Flagships are being ignored in favor of cheaper devices that do 90% of what a flagship can do but at a fraction of the cost.

    • Ruz

      Its not that high end specs r not favoured in the emerging markets.. its not that high end phones are sold here which are even costly than what you find in US & Europe. Plus EM are price sensitive markets so definitely if a manufacturer sell their phones like Xiaomi Mi3 or Mi4 or OnePlus One at mid range phone price then definitely that’s what is hurting the market share of Samsung and others where they demand unnecessary premium

      • rickrom

        people are getting smarter and are not willing to pay for overpriced pieces of shits with gimmicky features and shit you do not actually need that looses two-thirds of its value in less than a year.

        • Android Developer

          You got a point.
          I like some of the features, but less expensive devices are very good nowadays too, so maybe it affects what is happening.
          I wonder how this will change the way the companies work, and what will happen to their flagships.

          • indianguru

            Flagships with regards to specs that actually mattered, plateaud once they hit 720p screens and quadcores. Every upgrade after that was just utter nonsense. But these pricks didn’t have anywhere else to go to sell their next flagship. So here we are with QHD screens on 5 inch devices. SoCs that are atmost at par with some low spec’d laptops. 64-bit architecture on a smartphone. I mean in all honesty, what in gods name are you doing on your smartpohone that requires that much processing power? LOL. There’s only one thing i’ll never complain about, and that’s more ram.

          • Android Developer

            I think they should have thought of better things to do with this power.
            One thing that I really liked is Ubuntu-Phone, which made the OS run on the PC.
            I think that in some point of the future, Android will invade the PC market one way or another, making the main OS run from the smartphone rather than the normal desktop OS (Windows/MacOS/Linux) . Maybe it will be a mix with Linux.
            I also hope that the smartphone will be able to replace the TV-consoles and TV itself.

          • rickrom

            yes, indian guy… the funny thing is the first reaction i always hear from people when you have one of the flagships in hand, is NEVER about its features or specs and its always… oh! you’ve got the new whatever phone… or you’ve got the $700-800 phone… or wow! that phone is expensive. flagships smartphones is somewhat a social status thing which i find completely idiotic. that is the only reason people buy it. bragging rights and nothing more. just victims of hype and marketing. LOL.

  • Tariq Azam

    About time really, paying top notch for phones that are locked down, full of bloatware depending on the carrier, overpriced and ultimately being out of touch with markets outside of the west. I love my cheap smartphone it cost me 65 pounds and never lets me down! I highly recommend these ones at Cheap Android Smartphones you really can not go wrong with them!

  • rickrom

    only complete and total idiots pay for smartphones over $200 USD

    • MasterMuffin

      If you find anyone who agrees with you here, congratulations. It’s your opinion, but I must say it’s a really stupid one

    • Anonymousfella

      You’re the one sounding like a complete and total idiot with an dumb comment like that.

    • rickrom

      we have winners! what idiots. LOL.

      • Jayfeather787

        That would be you. Nice to see you realized that.

        • rickrom

          and a runner up. lol.

    • Anggelos

      I dont think they would be idiots. I will agree that $600-800 dollar smart phones are ridiculously high but the price you mentioned is too low. Buying a smartphone depends on so many factors for the tech head (I dont really know what goes on in the non-tech head except them being caught by marketing gimmicks), but I think $400-$550 for high end is a fair price. The pocket is always a factor. All in all though one might do a phone tear down and say yes it cost less than 200 dollars to build but what about research and development, manufacture costs and all the other factors that a lot of consumers overlook? That is just how the game is, u want high end products, one has to pay (Not sure Samsung gets the idea of high end in build quality that well though.)

    • namesib

      Lol dat poverty

  • Android Developer

    Wait, so LG got less market share than previous year?
    It doesn’t make sense. I thought they got to be more popular now with the G2 and G3 …

    • Shark Bait

      their up in volume by a considerable amount

      • Android Developer

        But the percentage is more interesting.
        Apple also got lower market share , which I think make sense, as Android devices offer more for (usually) less money…

        • abazigal

          Apple is actually selling more iPhones every year. Their market share is falling because this increase is still much less than the total increase in sales of smartphones, but when you look at it, Apple is still immensely profitable.

    • Ruz

      fromy my point of view QHD display doesnt make any sense with the same processor and 32bit OS

    • Mike Reid

      Huawei up so much must mean these figures are driven by high growth of cheap phones.

      And any stats that don’t have HTC and Sony are suspect.

      Stats for “1st world” and/or higher end devices must be very different.

  • Luka Mlinar

    I think it has to do with everyone moving their production from phones to bricks.

    • Android Developer

      I don’t understand.

    • Luka Mlinar

      The smaller company’s are at still sub 5 inches. All the big names are almost excessively making phones over 5 inches.

  • Ruz

    Samsung dint come out with stellar S5 phone. It came with new camera but it failed to implement OIS in its S5. than it failed to hear customers by coming out with plastic body. Not only this their Indian strategy is so wrong that they are selling their inferior in house processors along with only 3G model to India for the same high cost of over $800. Who will pay $800 for a high end 3G only device without snapdragon? Please tell me.. Samsung please explain it to me. I would rather buy OnePlus One or Xiaomi Mi3 or Mi4 phone

    • The-Sailor-Man

      It’s proven that S5 camera’s DIS is much better than LG’s OIS . So what is your point?

  • ChinaAndXiaomi

    When China invade
    Samsung : Shit I’m running out of juice
    Apple : go ahead, this isn’t my final form

  • Sal

    I think it is clear. Consumers are starting to wake up and realize that Samsung and Apple are not the only people to buy phones off of and they are much better options out there. The smartphone market is slowly becoming diverse and no longer a two horse race.

  • M3D1T8R

    Good. Maybe Samsung will finally make some needed changes, first and formost firing the design person responsible for their continued use of obsolete buttons (physical Home and backwards layout), and release some modern styled ones instead of device after device that all look like they’re from 2011.

    • namesib


    • The-Sailor-Man

      Do you prefer onscreen buttons to eat 10% of the screen???? LOL

  • Roberto Tomás

    (looks at the top chart) wow, who knew samsung sold more smartphones than the next 3 competitors combined?
    … looking at the last chart, you can see that this last quarter is kind of an aberration for Samsung. the previous quarter was a *gain*

    • Frank Bank

      not sure what kind of math you using