Chinese phone makers gain amid smartphone surge

IDC report shows shipments for market leader Samsung slipped during the second quarter while Huawei's nearly doubled.

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The global smartphone market shows no signs of slowing down, based on the latest pulse check conducted by IDC.

The market research firm estimated 295.3 million units shipped worldwide during the second quarter of 2014, representing annual growth of 23.1 percent.

On a quarterly basis, growth was only 2.6 percent, but IDC program director Ryan Reigh reflected in the report that the "record second quarter" points toward "plenty of opportunity and momentum."

Reigh continued:

Right now we have more than a dozen vendors that are capable of landing in the top 5 next quarter. A handful of these companies are currently operating in a single country, but no one should mistake that for complacency - they all recognize the opportunity that lies outside their home turf.

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China continues to be a focal point for all mobile OEMs -- to the point where even homegrown Lenovo is facing increasing pressure but still hanging on with record shipments of its own.

In fact, Chinese mobile OEMs are putting more pressure on other hardware brands outside of China, especially in emerging markets as the feature phone continues to find itself on the way out amid the rise of cheaper smartphones.

"The offer of smartphones at a much better value than the top global players but with a stronger build quality and larger scale than local competitors gives these vendors a precarious competitive advantage," explained Melissa Chau, a senior research manager for on IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker team.

Shipments by China-based Huawei, for instance, nearly doubled year over year to 20.3 million units to boost its market share to nearly 7 percent, good for third place. Meanwhile, market leader Samsung saw its shipments slip slightly to 74.3 million units, and its market share dipped to 25 percent for the second quarter of 2014, down from 32 percent a year earlier. Apple's market share also edged downward a bit to 12 percent, even as its shipments rose to 35.1 million units.

The smartphone report follows IDC's update last Thursday on the global tablet market.

While still projecting double-digit annual growth for the form factor, IDC analysts warned against getting too comfortable following quarter-after-quarter of astronomical growth.

Nevertheless, tablets might still continue to enjoy a longer boom in the business sector as analysts reflected the recent Apple/IBM partnership will boost tablet usage with more enterprise-specific offerings.

Looking forward, IDC analysts project that smartphone shipments will break the 300-million-unit mark during the third quarter for the first time ever.

This story originally appeared as "IDC: Smartphone shipments surge again while featurephone 'death' draws nigh" on ZDNet and has been amended from its original form.

 

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