Worldwide sales of smartphones totalled 330 million units in Q2 2015, an increase of 13.5 per cent over the same period in 2014, representing the slowest quarterly growth rate since 2013, according to Gartner.
Huawei recorded the highest sales growth rate among leading vendors of 46 per cent, thanks to strong overseas sales and 4G smartphone sales in China. As a result, it gained 1.7 percentage points in market share, climbing to the number three spot.
Meanwhile, market leader Samsung lost 4.3 percentage points in market share and declined 5.3 per cent in unit sales, the report noted. This was despite the launch of new S6 models, with its premium phones continuing to be challenged by Apple’s large-screen iPhones.
iPhone sales increased 36 per cent, which helped Apple gain 2.4 percentage points in market share. Apple recorded strong iPhone replacement sales in both emerging and mature markets, particularly in China. Total iPhone sales in China grew 68 per cent to 12 million units.
However, smartphone sales in China fell for the first time year-over-year, recording a 4 per cent decline, although the market still represents 30 per cent of total sales of smartphones, more than any other country.
China’s “poor performance negatively affected the performance of the mobile phone market in the second quarter,” said Anshul Gupta, research director.
“China has reached saturation — its phone market is essentially driven by replacement, with fewer first-time buyers. Beyond the lower-end phone segment, the appeal of premium smartphones will be key for vendors to attract upgrades and to maintain or grow their market share in China,” he added.
The report also claims that Apple’s double-digit growth in the high-end segment continued to negatively impact its rivals’ premium phone sales and profit margins.
Many vendors had to “realign” their portfolios to remain competitive in the midrange and low-end smartphone segments, resulting in price wars and discounting to clear inventory for new devices planned for the second half of 2015.
In the smartphone operating system market, Android saw its lowest year-over-year growth of 11 per cent, giving it market share of 82.2 per cent.
Microsoft continued to struggle to generate wider demand for Windows Phone devices — even at the lower end. Its market share fell 0.3 percentage points to 2.5 per cent.
“In light of Microsoft’s recent cuts in its mobile hardware business, we’ll await signs of its long-term commitment in the smartphone market,” said Gupta.
Total mobile phone sales
Total worldwide mobile phone sales hit 446 million units in the second quarter of 2015, an increase of only 0.4 per cent year-over-year.
Vendors that are focused on the emerging markets, such as Huawei, ZTE, TCL Communication and Micromax, benefited from high demand in these markets, while global vendors such as Sony, Samsung and HTC struggled to achieve growth at the high end, Gartner’s study said.