Samsung maintains lead over Apple in global smartphone sales in Q4

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world's largest smartphone maker, retained its lead over Apple Inc in the fourth quarter, while Chinese vendors increased their share, International Data Corp (IDC) reports.

Samsung's share of global shipments stood at 28.8 per cent in the three months ended 31 December, from 29.1 per cent a year earlier, Massachusetts-based market researcher IDC said in a statement yesterday. Apple's share was down to 17.9 per cent from 20.9 per cent.

The two companies remained undisputed leaders with double-digit margins over rivals even as Chinese suppliers Huawei Technologies Co and Lenovo Group Ltd added to their share to finish among the top-five smartphone vendors in 2013.

The Chinese makers gained with low cost devices for emerging markets.

Bloomberg quoted Ryan Reith, programme director for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker as saying, cheap devices were not the attractive segment that normally grabbed headlines, but IDC data showed this was the portion of the market that was driving volume.

He added, markets such as China and India were quickly moving toward a point where sub-$150 smartphones were the majority of shipments.

Huawei's market share was up at 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter from 4.6 per cent a year earlier, while Lenovo gained from 4.1 per cent to 4.9 per cent, according to IDC.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd sold a record 86 million smartphones in the fourth quarter and increased its lead over Apple Inc even after the number of iPhones sold by the company touched a new high, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Despite its market share sliding from the previous year's 22 per cent Apple sold a record 51 million iPhones in the year-end quarter, Huawei and Lenovo Group Ltd took the global No 3 and No 4 slots respectively.

Huawei smartphone sales at 16.6 million gave the company a market share of 5.7 per cent, while Lenovo sold 13.6 million, taking 4.7 per cent of the market.
 
Retuers quoted Strategy Analytics' analyst Linda Sui as saying there was clearly now more competition coming from the second-tier smartphone brands.

She added, Huawei, LG Electronics and Lenovo each expanded their smartphone shipments around two times faster than the global industry average.

She said, Samsung and Apple needed to fight hard to hold off these and other hungry challengers during 2014.