By Jeffrey Green (@epaymentsguy)
Samsung, which for years has seen in global smartphone market share rise or hold steady, is finally experiencing the growing competition first hand.
Samsung captured a 31 percent global first quarter market share, still the market leader but down from a 32 percent share a year earlier. The period represented the first smartphone market share loss for the company since the end of 2009. It shipped 89 million smartphones worldwide through March this year, according to research from Strategy Analytics.
“Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market and from Chinese brands like Huawei at the lower-end,” Strategy Analytics said.
First quarter smartphone shipments globally grew 33 percent year over year, to 285 million units from 213.9 million during the same period last year, reports Strategy Analytics.
Regionally, smartphone growth was mixed “with healthy demand in Asia counterbalanced by sluggish volumes across North America due to changes in the operator subsidy mix,” the company said in its report summary.
Apple’s market share, however, dipped 2 percentage points, to 15 percent globally from 17 percent a year earlier, shipping 43.7 million iPhones worldwide. “Apple remains strong in the premium smartphone segment, but a lack of presence in the entry-level category continues to cost it lost volumes in fast-growing emerging markets such as Latin America,” Strategy Analytics said.
Combined, the global smartphone market share of Samsung and Apple fell to 47 percent from 50 percent, caused by greater competition by second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei remained steady with 5 percent global smartphone market share, while Lenovo increased its global presence to a 5 percent share from 4 percent, Strategy Analytics said.
“Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while Lenovo continues to grow aggressively outside China into new regions such as Russia,” the research company said. “If the recent Lenovo takeover of Motorola gets approved by various governments in the coming months, this will eventually create an even larger competitive force that Samsung and Apple must contend with in the second half of this year.”
Lenovo announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobiliti in January from Google for a purchase price of about $2.91 billion.
In April, Nielsen reported a breakout of smartphone market share that showed Apple controlled 42.5 percent of the U.S. market during the first quarter of the year, followed by Samsung at 28.7 percent, LG at 7 percent, Motorola at 6.8 percent, and HTC at 5.7 percent. Blackberry and Nokia held a 2 percent share each.