Leading mobile analyst firm Juniper Research estimates that the number of smartphone shipments exceeded 280 million in Q4 2013, with an annual total of 980 million smartphones shipped for 2013, representing 39% y-o-y growth.
Samsung shipped over 300 million smartphones in 2013 accounting for just over 30% of all smartphone shipments, and represented a phenomenal 40% y-o-y growth compared to 2012. However, for the first time Samsung witnessed a quarterly fall in shipments and market share, to just over 81 million in Q4 2013.
Apple breaks iPhone Quarterly Sales Record
Meanwhile, Apple posted a record quarter of 51 million iPhone sales, representing q-o-q growth of 51% and y-o-y growth of 7% compared to Q4 2012. Apple’s iPhone ASP (average selling price) has been on the decline since Q4 2011, but rose by 10% q-o-q to $637 in Q4 2013. However, Apple’s share price dropped by 5% after the company lowered its sales outlook for 2014.
Nokia Sales Down, LG posts Record Quarter
Nokia’s handset sales dropped by nearly 30% in Q4 2013, with sales of the flagship Lumia range falling to 8.2 million in Q4 compared to 8.8 million in Q3 2013. However, 30 million Lumia smartphones were sold throughout 2013, compared to 13 million in 2012.
LG posted another record quarter with quarterly smartphone sale exceeding 13 million for the first time, representing an increase of over 50% compared to Q4 2012. However, the company announced that although profit improved q-o-q due to improved G2 and Nexus 5 sales, it declined y-o-y due to higher marketing expenses and intensified price competition.
While several other smartphone vendors, including Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE, have managed to improve their smartphone market share y-o-y, they still face a challenge when competing against premium brands. These three vendors together are estimated to have shipped over 40 million smartphones in Q4 2014.
A Specialised, More Local Approach
Juniper Research notes that the emerging markets are vital to continued success and the gap between the growing emerging markets and the stagnating mature markets is what will characterise the smartphone market in the future. This means that many markets that will drive future growth will represent a new territory for the major smartphone players, potentially requiring a specialised, more local, approach or a local partner with intrinsic knowledge of local socio-economic conditions. Consequently, although these leading smartphone vendors will continue to experience an enlarged market share, it will come at the cost of much lower margins.