Taiwan-headquartered market research and analysis firm, TrendForce, has released its report on the state of the global smartphone market in the year 2015, revealing overall sales of as many as 1.292 billion handsets last year, which represented a year-on-year growth of 10.3 percent over 2014. While the rapid rate of growth the industry had been experiencing over the past several years slowed down significantly last year, the numbers still look better than the grim predictions made in December by American market research, analysis and advisory firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), according to which, the industry was only expected to grow by low single digits in 2015. Meanwhile, as per the TrendForce report, Chinese smartphone makers took giant strides last year, shipping as many as 539 million units worldwide, with Huawei replacing Lenovo as the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, after Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc.
Taking a look at the TrendForce report in a bit more detail, seven out of the top ten spots on the list of the world's most prolific handset makers are now occupied by Chinese companies. South Korea's LG Electronics is the only non-Chinese vendor other than Samsung and Apple to break into the list, with its sales improving by 7.9 percent over 2014, thanks largely to the innovative V10. The company's market share, however, dipped ever so slightly from 5.4 percent in 2014, to 5.3 percent in 2015. The other leading South Korean company, Samsung Electronics, meanwhile, saw its annual shipments actually decline by 1.8 percent last year. The company's overall market share now stands at just under 25 percent, down from almost 28 percent in 2014. What's even more disconcerting for the company though, is the prediction that it might experience a further dip of 2.6 percentage points in its market share this year. Samsung, however, retains its crown as the largest smartphone manufacturer on the planet, having shipped about 320 million smartphones in 2015.
Another company that saw a significant decline is Chinese major Lenovo, whose sales fell an astounding 24 percent from 92 million in 2014 to just 70 million last year, resulting in a 2.5 percent drop in its market share from 7.9 percent in 2014 to 5.4 percent last year. Another interesting point to note is that Sony is now completely out of the picture, having held the number eight slot back in 2014 with a 3.9 percent share of the market. It will be interesting to see if the Japanese consumer electronics major can make a comeback this year with the launch of its Xperia Z6 flagship and its inevitable spinoffs.
Amidst all the upheavals in Android land, Apple continues to remain at number 2 with a global market share of 17.5 percent with sales of 227 million iPhones. However, according to the report, the real winner of 2015 seems to be Huawei, who has not just dethroned Xiaomi to bag its pride of place as the market leader in China, but the company was able to breach the 100 million barrier for the first time in its history, having shipped as many as 108 million smartphones last year, which represented a YoY growth of around 49 percent. Xiaomi, meanwhile, was thwarted in its global ambitions because of IP-related disputes – notably in India – because of which, its high-volume mid-range handsets like the Redmi Note 2 were restricted to its home market, thereby losing the company a chunk of its sales in its second largest market globally. The company is currently at number four, having grown by 17.8 percent over 2014, with 72 million devices sold during the year.