Emerging Markets Fuel Global Smartphone Demand

Worldwide smartphone shipments were up 23.1% in the second quarter compared to a year ago, fueled by demand for low-cost devices in emerging markets. The 295.3 million smartphones shipped in the quarter was up only 2.6% from the first quarter, according to a new IDC report. The total was in line with the research firm’s estimate.

China-based manufacturers like Huawei and Lenovo saw the most impressive gains in the quarter as consumers in developing countries snap up their more affordable handsets. "As the death of the feature phone approaches more rapidly than before, it is the Chinese vendors that are ready to usher emerging market consumers into smartphones,” stated Melissa Chau, a senior research manager with IDC.

Huawei, for example, saw the number of units shipped nearly double to 20.3 million in the second quarter, putting it third behind smartphone titans Samsung and Apple. Lenovo, ranked fourth, increased shipments 38% to 15.8 million, with LG rounding out the top five with 14.5 million, up 19.8% from a year ago.

While Samsung actually saw smartphone shipments fall 3.9% in the quarter, it continued to dominate the category with 32.3% market share. Apple was a distant second with 12.4% share. IDC noted, however, that Samsung has lost 7% share compared to a year ago. To maintain its leading position, the firm suggested the Korean electronics giant will have focus on building momentum in markets where local brands hold sway.

IDC projects smartphone growth will maintain its current pace in the second half of the year, when quarterly shipments are expected to surpass 300 million units for the first time. 

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