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Smartphone Shipments Reach Record Levels In 2015

International Data Corporation (IDC) figures show that over 1.4 billion smartphone units were shipped in 2015, making it the highest year of shipments on record.

Smartphone Shipments Reach Record Levels In 2015The figures represent growth of 10.1 per cent year-on-year, while in the fourth quarter a total of 399.5 million units were shipped, up 5.7 per cent year-on-year.

Among the smartphone vendors, Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi finished the year with above average year-on-year growth, while Samsung led the way in terms of total smartphone shipments.

“Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei’s strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand,” Melissa Chau, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker senior research manager, commented.

“While there is a lot of uncertainty around the economic slowdown in China, Huawei is one of the few brands from China that has successfully diversified worldwide, with almost half of its shipments going outside of China.

“Huawei is poised to be in a good position to hold onto a strong number three over the next year.”

Over the course of 2015, Samsung shipped 324.8 million units, capturing a 22.7 per cent market share and posting year-on-year growth of 2.1 per cent.

Apple claimed second position with 231.5 million units shipped, representing a 16.2 per cent market share, while its year-on-year growth came in at 20.2 per cent.

Rounding out the top five, Huawei shipped 106.6 million units, capturing a 7.4 per cent market share and growing 44.3 per cent year-on-year, Lenovo shipped 74 million units, capturing a 5.2 per cent market share and growing 24.5 per cent (although this was impacted by its acquisition of Motorolo), while Xiaomi shipped 70.8 million units, capturing a 4.9 per cent market share and growing 22.8 per cent.

The IDC noted that Apple’s 2015 fourth quarter represented its most successful quarter yet, with 74.8 million units shipped. Apple’s shipments for the quarter were up 0.4 per cent year-on-year.

Apple’s growth in key markets such as China over the course of the year was up 18 per cent, in which 50 per cent were first-time iPhone owners, while sales in many emerging markets were also up.

This was achieved despite the increase in the iPhone’s average selling price, which rose to US$691, up from US$687 one year ago, which the IDC noted potentially points to increased demand for a larger screen and higher capacity models.

“With initial Apple shipment estimates all over the map, Apple assured the public that demand for its premium smartphones is still alive and kicking,” Anthony Scarsella, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker research manager, commented.

“A new record-setting quarter for Apple indicates consumers continued demand for Apple’s latest offerings regarding upgraded hardware and software. Features such as a more widely accepted Apple Pay, increased performance, and the innovative Force Touch technology, continue to set the iPhone apart from the competition.”

Scarsella added that competing vendors will need to bring value to consumers to stay relevant in the market in combating Apple at the high-end.

“With heavy saturation in many mature smartphone markets such as the US, Europe and China, many vendors have placed a renewed focus on pushing premium-looking mid-tier devices as a new value proposition to consumers in both developed and emerging markets,” he commented.

“Samsung has found success in this segment with its A-Series, and Huawei with its Honor brand. We expect similar devices to appear in 2016 from a variety of vendors that will focus on affordable value without neglecting performance and aesthetics.”

For the fourth quarter, Samsung shipped 85.6 million units, capturing a 21.4 per cent market share and growing 14 per cent year-on-year. Apple followed in second position with its 74.8 million units shipped, capturing an 18.7 per cent market share and growing 0.4 per cent year-on-year.

Rounding out the top five, Huawei shipped 32.4 million units, representing an 8.1 per cent market share and growth of 37 per cent year-on-year, Lenovo 20.2 million units, capturing a 5.1 per cent market share and growing 43.6 per cent year-on-year (again impacted by its acquisition of Motorola), and Xiaomi 18.2 million units, capturing a 4.6 per cent market share and growing 10 per cent year-on-year.

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