Gartner: Samsung lost No. 1 position to Apple in Global Smartphone Market in Q4

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users had a record fourth quarter of 2014 with an increase of 29.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to reach 367.5 million units, according to market research firm Gartner, Inc.


Gartner claims that Samsung lost the No. 1 spot to Apple in the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2014 (see Table 1). Samsung had been in the top spot since 2011.

In 2014, sales of smartphones to end users totaled 1.2 billion units, up 28.4 percent from 2013 (see Table 2) and represented two-thirds of global mobile phone sales.

Table 1: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q14 (Thousands of Units)

Company 4Q14 Units 4Q14 Market Share (%) 4Q13 Units 4Q13 Market Share (%)
Apple 74,832 20.4 50,224 17.8
Samsung 73,032 19.9 83,317 29.5
Lenovo (including Motorola) 24,300 6.6 16,465 5.8
Huawei 21,038 5.7 16,057 5.7
Xiaomi 18,582 5.1 5,598 2.0
Others 155,701.6 42.4 111,204.3 39.3
Total 367,484.5 100.0 282,866.2 100.0

Table 2: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2014 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2014 Units 2014 Market Share (%) 2013 Units 2013 Market Share (%)
Samsung 307,597 24.7 299,795 30.9
Apple 191,426 15.4 150,786 15.5
Lenovo (including Motorola) 81,416 6.5 57,424 5.9
Huawei 68,081 5.5 46,609 4.8
LG Electronics 57,661 4.6 46,432 4.8
Others 538,710 43.3 368,675 38.0
Total 1,244,890 100.0 969,721 100.0


Apple: Apple reported its best quarter ever in the fourth quarter of 2014, which saw it sell 74.8 million units and move to the No. 1 position in the global smartphone market said Gartner. Apple’s first ever large-screen phones continued to see huge demand with sales in China and U.S., growing at 56 percent and 88 percent, respectively. Apple’s strong ecosystem and its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus drove strong replacements within the iOS base. These new smartphones also offered new users, who are looking for larger screen phones, a strong alternative to Android.

Lenovo: In the fourth quarter of 2014, Lenovo, which includes sales of mobile phones by Lenovo and Motorola, moved to the No. 3 spot in the global smartphone market, reaching 6.6 percent market share and growing 47.6 percent year over year. Lenovo’s sales of mobile phones in its home market, China, grew 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. In addition, its strong mobile phone sales in Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil in the fourth quarter of 2014 helped it grow by 26 percent in the global mobile phone market.

Chinese vendors, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, are continuing to improve their sales in China and other overseas markets, increasing their share in the mid to low-end smartphone market. Gartner said, “They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market. Brand building and marketing will be key activities in deciding which Chinese vendors can secure a foothold in mature markets.”

The availability of smartphones at lower prices accelerated the migration of feature phone users to smartphones pushing the smartphone operating system (OS) market to double-digit growth in most emerging countries, including India, Russia and Mexico. According to Gartner, this trend continued to benefit Android, which saw its market share grow 2.2 percentage points in 2014, and 32 percent year on year (see Table 3). Chinese and other smaller players drove Android’s performance in 2014, while more established players at the higher end of the market continued to struggle to increase stickiness to their brands and ecosystems. Windows Phone’s performance was flat but it recorded strong results in some markets in Europe, and in the business segment.

Table 3: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2014 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System 2014 Units 2014 Market Share (%) 2013 Units 2013 Market Share (%)
Android 1,004,675 80.7 761,288 78.5
iOS 191,426 15.4 150,786 15.5
Windows 35,133 2.8 30,714 3.2
BlackBerry 7,911 0.6 18,606 1.9
Other OS 5,745 0.5 8,327 0.9
Total 1,244,890 100.0 969,721 100.0


Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled nearly 1.9 billion units in 2014, a 3.9 percent increase from the same period in 2013 (see Table 4). All regions recorded growth in 2014, except Japan and Western Europe, which recorded declines of 2.8 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.

Table 4: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2014 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2014 Units 2014 Market Share (%) 2013 Units 2013 Market Share (%)
Samsung 392,546 20.9 444,472 24.6
Apple 191,426 10.2 150,786 8.3
Microsoft 185,660 9.9 250,835 13.9
Lenovo (including Motorola) 84,029 4.5 66,463 3.7
LG Electronics 76,096 4.0 69,094 3.8
Huawei 70,499 3.8 53,296 2.9
TCL Communication 64,026 3.4 49,538 2.7
Xiaomi 56,529 3.0 13,423 0.7
ZTE 53,910 2.9 59,903 3.3
Sony 37,791 2.0 37,596 2.1
Micromax 37,094 2.0 25,431 1.4
Others 629,360 33.5 587,764 32.5
Total 1,878,968 100.0 1,808,600 100.0


“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”

“With Apple dominating the premium phone market and the Chinese vendors increasingly offering quality hardware at lower prices, it is through a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

Check Also

huawei balong 5000 5G chipset

Huawei Balong 5000 Chipset supports up to 6.5Gbps on 5G Networks

Huawei officially launched its 5G multi-mode chipset Balong 5000 today – along with the first commercial 5G device powered by it, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro.

Huawei beats Apple to become No.2 Smartphone Vendor in the World – Gartner

Huawei surpassed Apple to secure the No. 2 worldwide smartphone vendor position for the first time ever, according to Gartner, Inc. Apple is now No.3.

huawei idc apple

Huawei now ships more smartphones than Apple, ranking second globally – IDC

Huawei beats Apple to become the No.2 global Smartphone vendor. Samsung continues to lead the smartphone market, according to IDC.