Smartphone shipments rise on China demand

Global smartphone shipments jumped 39 percent in the quarter ended September 30, while brisk demand for low-priced Android devices in China eroded Apple’s market share.

With growth in smartphones slowing in the United States and Europe, attention has turned to technology-hungry consumers in developing countries, many of whom favor devices that are less expensive than Apple’s iPhones.

Apple’s profit and margins slid despite selling 33.8 million iPhones in its September quarter, and greater China revenue climbed just 6 percent even though two smartphone models hit store shelves in its second-largest market last month.

Samsung Electronics increased its global smartphone market share 0.4 percentage points to 31.4 percent in the quarter compared to a year ago. Its 40.5 percent increase in shipments was driven more by its low-end mass market smartphones than its flagship models like the Galaxy S4 and Note 3, IDC said.

“Price points have declined significantly, driven largely by low-cost Android solutions. This has helped China to become one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world,” IDC analyst Ryan Reith said in a press release.

IDC said it expects strong momentum to continue into the December quarter.

In the September quarter, Apple’s smartphone market share declined 1.3 percentage points to 13.1 percent.

Huawei, Lenovo and LG, which all sell mass market products, grew at a faster percentage rate than Samsung and Apple although their shipments were smaller.

Huawei, Lenovo and LG Electronics each expanded their market share by about 1 percentage point, bringing each one’s market share to nearly 5 percent.

The “Other” category, made up of manufacturers below the top five, like Coolpad and ZTE, saw the biggest jump in market share, rising from 33.7 percent a year ago to 41.3 percent at the end of September.

Google provides Android for free but since it is the most widely used smartphone platform, manufacturers are struggling to differentiate their offerings.

Sources have said demand for Apple’s cheaper, brightly hued iPhone 5C lagged sales for the top-tier 5S, spurring concerns about the iPhone’s market positioning and its ability to compete with a growing profusion of lower-cost rivals.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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Smartphone shipments rise on China demand