According to analysis from ABI Research reported in BusinessWire, Q4 2014 was a bad one for Android makers, as competition from Apple and forked Androids caused a decrease in shipments for the first time, most notably Samsung.
Android phones decreased shipments by 5 percent from Q3, while forked Android phones dropped 1 percent. By contrast, rival Apple iOS phone shipments jumped a staggering 90 percent from an already successful Q3, and Windows Phones rose 19 percent. In total, smartphone shipments increased by 7 percent compared to the previous quarter, but Android makers like Samsung missed out on that growth.
A main reason for the drop in Android shipments, according to ABI senior practice director Nick Spencer, is that Android has been “attacked” on the high end of the scale by Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6C, while also getting hit on the low-end by the cheaper “forked Androids” from makers like Xaomi, especially in places designated as “high growth markets.”
In total, 74.5 million iPhones were shipped last quarter, a 46.1-percent increase year-over-year and a 25.6-percent increase throughout the year. Samsung meanwhile, the No. 1 smartphone maker in Q3, saw volumes drop 14.9 percent last quarter to 73.8 million phones shipped, a near dead-heat with Apple. One lone bright spot for Samsung though was that the quarterly losses might be winding down, as the company only saw a 0.5-percent decrease in year-over-year volumes.
Other smartphone makers fared better. Lenovo-Motorola (reflecting their 2014 merger), saw the biggest improvement for Android phones in Q4 with 25.9 million shipments, a 43.9-percent year-over-year increase and a 54.3-percent increase throughout 2014 according to Counterpoint Research. As for “forked Android” makers, Xaomi made 17.1 million shipments, a 167.2-percent jump from Q3 and a 227.3-percent increase through 2014.
Taken together, iOS and Android own a combined 92-percent share of the smartphone market, though Q4 statistics seem to show that Apple is taking a larger chunk of that at Android’s expense.