Smaller Mobile Phone Players Eat Into Apple and Samsung’s Market Share
July 26, 2013

Smaller Players Eating Into Apple And Samsung’s Market

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

The International Data Corporation (IDC) reported yesterday that the overall growth of the worldwide mobile phone market in the second quarter was driven by smaller players. Market leaders Apple and Samsung saw their market share drop by two and three points, respectively, as LG, Lenovo and others shipped more in the recent quarter than the previous year.

There was a total of 432.1 mobile phones shipped in the second quarter, a marked improvement over 2Q12's 407.7 million units and even higher than 1Q13's 428.8 million units. IDC's numbers show the top five smartphone vendors shipped more in the previous quarter than in 2Q12, yet the strong shipments of other players ate into their market share. Overall, smartphone shipments were up 52 percent year-over-year, the highest rate of growth in the past five quarters.

"The smartphone market is still a rising tide that's lifting many ships," said Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC in a statement.

"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."

Samsung, who may have shipped more than 20 million units of their new flagship Galaxy S4, continued to outperform Apple year-over-year. In fact, their 72.4 million total smartphone units shipped represented a third of all smartphones shipped in the world. The recently announced S4 may be selling well, but IDC also found that the previous generation of the Galaxy line, the S III, has helped to push these numbers along. When prices of these phones dropped on the heels of an S4 launch, customers found a renewed interest in what had once been Samsung's fastest selling smartphone.

Samsung's fiercest competitor, Apple, has now reached a three-year low where market share is considered at 26 percent. Coming in at second place, they're far separated from Samsung's 50.3 percent and third place LG's 5.8. However IDC notes that Apple is in the middle of a typical dry season before the release of a new iPhone. Whereas Apple smartphones were once released in June or July, the company has started a new tradition of releasing these phones in September or October. They lost just over three percent market share year-over-year, but also managed to ship 31.2 million units, beating their 2Q12 number of 26 million.

Once again IDC takes time to mention Apple's possible entry into the low cost smartphone market and expects the iPhone maker to accelerate their growth globally here and in prepaid markets.

It's this low cost market, says IDC, which is responsible for taking away market share from the top five vendors.

"Market opportunities exist at all levels, including the high end," says Ramon Llamas, a research manager for IDC's mobile phone division, before noting that the lower cost phones are "just as, if not more, interesting."

"Lower-priced smartphones continue to gain traction, but the key for vendors will be to keep prices low while still offering premium devices and services. We fully expect to see large-screen smartphones and other flagship devices establish a presence within the lower-priced smartphone segment as well."