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Gartner, Inc. said worldwide smartphone sales recorded the slowest growth rate since 2013 in the second quarter of 2015. Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users totaled 330 million units, an increase of 13.5 percent over the same period in 2014.
"While demand for lower-cost 3G and 4G smartphones continued to drive growth in emerging markets, overall smartphone sales remained mixed region by region in the second quarter of 2015," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. 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. By contrast, smartphone sales in China fell for the first time year over year, recording a 4 percent decline.
"China is the biggest country for smartphone sales, representing 30 percent of total sales of smartphones in the second quarter of 2015. Its poor performance negatively affected the performance of the mobile phone market in the second quarter," said Mr. Gupta. "China has reached saturation — its phone market is essentially driven by replacement, with fewer first-time buyers. Beyond the lower-end phone segment, the appeal of premium smartphones will be key for vendors to attract upgrades and to maintain or grow their market share in China."
Despite the launch of new S6 models, Samsung's premium phones continued to be challenged by Apple's large-screen iPhones. Samsung lost 4.3 percentage points in market share and declined 5.3 percent in unit sales in the second quarter of 2015. Huawei recorded the highest sales growth rate of 46.3 percent, thanks to strong overseas sales and 4G smartphone sales in China. iPhone sales increased 36 percent, which helped Apple gain 2.4 percentage points in market share. Apple recorded strong iPhone replacements in both emerging and mature markets — and particularly in China. Total iPhone sales in China grew 68 percent to 11.9 million units.
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 446 million units during the second quarter of 2015. The performance was flat (0.4 per cent) year over year (see Table 3). Vendors that are focused on the emerging markets, such as Huawei, ZTE, TCL Communication and Micromax, benefited from high demand in these markets, while global vendors such as Sony, Samsung and HTC struggled to achieve growth at the high end of the market.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 7,100 associates, including more than 1,500 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 90 countries.