Samsung, Apple see mobile dominance slip as smaller players rise up


Samsung and Apple have been sitting pretty at the top of the smartphone pile for quite a while now. And while they look set to stay there for a little while yet, it seems their competitors are beginning to eat into their advantage.

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According to the latest figures from research house IDC, although Samsung and Apple both shipped a lot more phones in Q2 of 2013 than they did in 2012, both lost overall marketshare. Samsung shipped 72.4-million smartphones during the quarter, up from 50.3-million in the same quarter a year ago, but now lays claim to 30.4% of the total market, nearly two percent less than it had Q2 of 2012. It’s worth bearing in mind however that by the end of the quarter, Samsung more than doubled the total volumes of the next largest vendor, and shipped more units than the next four vendors combined.

Its Cupertino-based rival meanwhile shipped 31.2-million iPhones (up from 26-million a year ago), but its marketshare slipped from 16.6% to 13.1%.

The companies eating into their marketshare include the still resurgent LG, which more than doubled its phone shipments to take 5.1% of the global market and cement its number three position.

More importantly, the company saw a profit from its range of Android-powered smartphones, something very few Android vendors have been able to realise. “Now that LG has reinvigorated its product portfolio with the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G Pro,” IDC says, the company, it “is aiming to branch out further into the high-end with its upcoming G2, and into the mass market with its L-Series II and F-Series smartphones”.

Lenovo also returned to claim a spot in the top five vendors, beating out more established players such as BlackBerry and Nokia. According to IDC, it was helped out by large shipments to 3G operators in China where it is based. A variety of its LePhone brand family phones, such as the A728t, were reportedly among its popular models last quarter. Planned international expansion to a number of countries in Latin America should also help it maintain growth.

Overall, smartphones continue to see pretty steady growth around the globe. Vendors reportedly shipped 237.9-million units in Q2 2013 compared to the 156.2-million units shipped in Q2 2012. This represents 52.3% year-over-year-growth, the highest annual growth rate in five quarters. Second quarter shipments were up 10.0% when compared to the 216.3-million units shipped in Q1 2013.

This rapid smartphone growth helped push the global mobile market too. It grew six percent year over year, with vendors shipping a total of 432.1-million mobile phones in Q2 2013 compared to 407.7-million units in the second quarter of 2012.

“The smartphone market is still a rising tide that’s lifting many ships,” said Kevin Restivo, Senior Research Analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Though Samsung and Apple are the dominant players, the market is as fragmented as ever. There is ample opportunity for smartphone vendors with differentiated offerings.”

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