Apple may overtake Samsung in 2015 in the global smartphone market, said IDC.
“Continued success from Apple, coupled with the ongoing challenges facing Samsung, could enable Apple to overtake Samsung during the 2015 calendar year. Samsung’s challenges have not only come from Apple, but also from the increasing number of low-cost Android OEMs that are putting out products at much lower margins,” said IDC.
Will Samsung bounce back?
In order for Samsung to regain its share at the top, it will either have to accept lower margins from here forward or revamp its high-end strategy to compete with Apple.
With increased pressure in the high-end from Apple, and at the low-end to midrange from Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, and others, Samsung faces a multi-front battle. To this end, Samsung has streamlined its operations and product portfolio to become more competitive in the market.
How Apple gained
Apple shipped 74.5 million units of iPhones in Q4 2014. Apple iPhone sales increased 44 percent in the U.S. and up 97 percent in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Sales doubled year-over-year in China, Brazil, and Singapore.
At a time when average selling prices (ASPs) for smartphone are rapidly declining, Apple managed to increase its reported ASPs in the fourth quarter due to higher-cost new models.
The growth of iPhone sales in both the U.S., which is considered a saturated market, and China, which presents the dual challenges of strong local competitors and serious price sensitivity, were remarkable.
“Sustaining this growth and higher ASPs a year from now could prove challenging, but right now there is no question that Apple is leading the way,” said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
Smartphone shipments rose 28.2 percent to 375.2 million units in Q4 2014. In 2014, smartphone market grew 27.6 percent to 1,301.1 million units.
In Q4 2014, Apple managed to close the gap to a near tie with Samsung. Led by the success of iPhone 6 and 6 plus models, Apple reduced the volume gap to 600,000 units in the fourth quarter. Apple’s shipment trailed Samsung’s by more than 33 million units during the same quarter a year ago, said IDC.
On the other hand, Strategy Analytics today morning said Apple has overtaken Samsung due to a tie between the two device vendors in Q4 2014.
Lenovo dominated the sub-$150 handset market in China with a vast portfolio of devices including Golden Warriors S8 and more expensive flagship Vibe Z2 pro. Lenovo recently announced that it will bring the Motorola brand back to China in 2015, starting with the Moto X next month.
Huawei returned to the list of top 5 worldwide vendors, emphasizing its midrange and high-end smartphones (P Series and Mate Series respectively), and saw continued success with its Honor line. Huawei attributed its 2014 success to improved brand awareness and overall customer experience, which it will look to evolve even further in 2015.
Xiaomi fell from the third position to fifth in Q4 2014, beating LG for the final spot among the top 5. Xiaomi posted the largest year-over-year growth of all the leading vendors, thanks to demand in China and a steady release of new devices, including the Mi4 LTE. Xiaomi will be challenged by LG and ZTE for the top 5 position.