Emerging Markets Boost Smartphones to 15.5% Growth

By Tom Allen
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Worldwide smartphone sales were driven by continued demand for affordable models in emerging markets in Q3’15, says Gartner. Global sales reached 353 million units: up 15.5% YoY.

The increased availability of low-cost smartphones in emerging markets led to small price gaps with feature phones, so an increasing number of consumers upgraded. Of the 353 million smartphones sold in Q3, 259.7 million were sold in emerging markets: 18.4% YoY growth. Mature market sales, meanwhile, rose 8.2% over the same period.

Both Samsung and Apple launched new flagship devices in Q3, while Huawei maintained its growth momentum, in both domestic and international markets – particularly Europe.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in Q3’15 (000s)
Vendor Q3’15 Units Q3’14 Units Q3’15 Share Q3’14 Share
Samsung 83,586.7 72,929.4 23.7% 23.9%
Apple 46,062.0 38,186.6 13.1% 12.5%
Huawei 27,262.3 15,935.0 7.7% 5.2%
Lenovo 17,439.2 21,314.1 4.9% 7.0%
Xiaomi 17,197.2 15,772.5 4.9% 5.2%
Others 161,296.6 141,246.5 45.7% 46.3%
Total 352,844.0 305,384.0 100.0% 100.0%
Source: Gartner

Apple’s iOS continued to perform well in the smartphone OS market, growing 21% and reaching a 13.1% market share. Android rose 1.4 percentage points and maintained its market lead (84.7% share), largely thanks to strong sales by Samsung and Huawei. Windows dropped from a 3% share to 1.7%. Research director Roberta Cozza said that, in the future, “Microsoft smartphones will mainly focus on driving value for enterprise users”.

The overall mobile phone market totalled almost 478 million units: a 3.7% rise YoY. Local brands were bolstered by sales in emerging markets. This saw Micromax secure a place in the global top 10, for example. Chinese brands such as ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, TCL, Oppo and BBK also became increasingly aggressive in emerging regions.

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in Q3’15 (000s)
Vendor Q3’15 Units Q3’14 Units Q3’15 Share Q3’14 Share
Samsung 102,063 93,620 21.4% 20.3%
Apple 46,062 38,187 9.6% 8.3%
Microsoft 30,291 43,134 6.3% 9.4%
Huawei 27,457 16,324 5.7% 3.5%
LG Electronics 18,194 21,292 3.8% 4.6%
Lenovo 17,612 21,551 3.7% 4.7%
Xiaomi 17,197 15,773 3.6% 3.4%
TCL 17,165 15,955 3.6% 3.5%
ZTE 13,682 13,858 2.9% 3.0%
Micromax 12,165 5,645 2.5% 1.2%
Others 176,011 175,726 36.8% 38.1%
Total 477,899 461,065 100.0% 100.0%
Source: Gartner