Press Release

Egham, UK, May 27, 2015 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Emerging Markets Drove Worldwide Smartphone Sales to 19 Percent Growth in First Quarter of 2015

Apple Became the No. 1 Smartphone Vendor in China for the First Time

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users reached 336 million units, an increase of 19.3 per cent during the first quarter of 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. This growth was led by strong smartphone sales in emerging markets (excluding China); the fastest growing regions were emerging Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa. Due to these high-performing regions, the emerging markets achieved a 40 percent increase in sales during the first quarter of 2015. 

"During this quarter, local brands and Chinese vendors came out as the key winners in emerging markets," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "These vendors recorded an average growth of 73 percent in smartphone sales and saw their combined share go up from 38 percent to 47 percent during the first quarter of 2015." 

Apple continued to exhibit a strong performance in the quarter, particularly in China. iPhone sales were up 72.5 percent during the first quarter of 2015, making Apple the No. 1 smartphone vendor in China — just ahead of Xiaomi — for the first time. Greater China also became Apple's largest volume market, ahead of North America, thanks to strong sales in China during the first quarter of 2015. 

"Apple’s extension into more Asian markets helped it close the gap with Samsung globally. In the same period last year, there was a difference of more than 40 million units with Samsung; this difference has been halved, within one year, to just over 20 million units," said Mr. Gupta. 

Amongst the top five global smartphone vendors, Samsung continued to see a decline in sales and share during the first quarter of 2015 (see Table 1). "Despite a weak first quarter globally, Samsung's performance returned to growth quarter-on-quarter, with an 11 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2014. We expect Samsung's drop rate to be slower than that seen in recent quarters with sales of its new S6 smartphones starting in the second quarter of 2015, and its Galaxy Alpha receiving good response," said Mr. Gupta. 

Table 1

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 1Q15 (Thousands of Units)

Company

1Q15

Units

1Q15 Market Share (%)

1Q14

Units

1Q14 Market Share (%)

Samsung

81,123

24.2

85,507

30.4

Apple

60,177

17.9

43,062

15.3

Lenovo*

18,888

5.6

16,721

5.9

Huawei

18,102

5.4

13,450

4.8

LG Electronics

15,428

4.6

11,200

4.0

Others

142,335.6

42.4

111,697.8

39.7

Total

336,054.4

100.0

281,636.8

100.0

Source: Gartner (May 2015)

*The results for Lenovo include sales of mobile phones by Lenovo and Motorola both in 1Q15 and 1Q14.

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android's share fell by 1.9 percentage points, while iOS grew year-on-year for the third consecutive quarter (see Table 2). "Strong iPhone sales in China during the first quarter of 2015 had an impact on Android's performance in that country. Android’s volumes fell by 4 percent year-on-year in China for the first time," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. “The performance of Windows Phone remained flat, mainly due to a weak ecosystem and a less desirable mobile brand, together with a strong and established competitive smartphone market. The upcoming Windows 10 will create a consistent user experience across all devices, but it remains to be seen whether developers will follow.”

With the features and core capabilities of OSs evolving rapidly and becoming increasingly similar, it is now critical for OS providers to find ways to differentiate themselves. They need to extend their OS ecosystem's reach by adding new functionalities, and build platforms that can span multiple devices types. 

Table 2

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 1Q15 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System

1Q15

Units

1Q15 Market Share (%)

1Q14

Units

1Q14 Market Share (%)

Android

265,012

78.9

227,549

80.8

iOS

60,177

17.9

43,062

15.3

Windows

8,271

2.5

7,580

2.7

Blackberry

1,325

0.4

1,714

0.6

Other OS

1,268.7

0.4

1,731.0

0.6

Total

336,054.4

100.0

281,636.9

100.0

Source: Gartner (May 2015) 

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 460.3 million units during the first quarter of 2015, a 2.5 percent increase from the same period in 2014 (see Table 3). "In light of their strong smartphone sales in the emerging markets, the Indian and Chinese phone manufacturers increased their footprint during the first quarter of 2015. Six of them were in the top 10 in the first quarter of 2015," said Mr. Gupta. 

Table 3

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 1Q15 (Thousands of Units)

Company

1Q15

Units

1Q15 Market Share (%)

1Q14

Units

1Q14 Market Share (%)

Samsung

97,986

21.3

110,046

24.5

Apple

60,177

13.1

43,062

9.6

Microsoft

33,002

7.2

49,689

11.1

LG Electronics

19,637

4.3

14,882

3.3

Lenovo*

19,280

4.2

17,292

3.9

Huawei

18,590

4.0

14,574

3.2

Xiaomi

14,740

3.2

9,634

2.1

TCL Communication

14,189

3.1

11,956

2.7

ZTE

12,600

2.7

13,845

3.1

Micromax

8,158

1.8

7,791

1.7

Others

161,901.9

35.2

156,195.0

34.8

Total

460,261.7

100.0

448,966.1

100.0

Source: Gartner (May 2015)

*The results for Lenovo include sales of mobile phones by Lenovo and Motorola both in 1Q15 and 1Q14. 

For Editors:

*Lenovo's merger with Motorola was completed on October 30 2014, and the results for Lenovo include sales of mobile phones by both Lenovo and Motorola.

 Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Market Share: Devices, All Countries, 1Q15 Update."

Contacts
About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 8,300 associates, including more than 1,800 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.