TCL/Alcatel OneTouch became the world’s fifth-largest mobile phone vendor for the first time ever during Q4 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.

The Chinese vendor, which saw growth of 48 per cent year-on-year to reach 18.3 million units, has seen its growth driven by “a portfolio of low-cost smartphones and feature phones in Latin America and Europe”, the analyst firm said.

Further up the chart, while Samsung maintained its market leadership with a steady market share (25 per cent), second-placed Nokia saw its market share slip from 19.6 per cent in Q4 2012 to 13.7 per cent in Q4 2013.

Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, said: “Nokia’s Windows Phones have been performing relatively well, but this was not enough to offset sluggish demand for its Asha models and other feature phones during the course of the year.”

Nokia’s closest rival is Apple, which saw its market share essentially flat, although its growth is slowing.

Ken Hyers, senior analyst for the research firm, said:” Apple’s lack of presence in the low-end smartphone segment and the big-screen phablet category are costing the firm sizeable volumes.”

LG was in fourth place, increasing its market share from 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent.

Strategy Analytics said that the mobile phone market saw shipments grow by 5 per  cent annually to reach 1.7 billion units in 2013, “despite ongoing economic headwinds in Asia and other emerging markets”.

It also said that smartphone shipments increased by 41 per cent annually to reach 990 million units – slightly behind the 1 billion trumpeted by IDC.