Skip to main content

Q3 sees smartphone sales boom, with Samsung leading the charge

The smartphone market was booming in the third quarter, thanks in large part to Samsung, according to data from IDC.

Vendors shipped 258.4 million smartphones in Q3, beating the previous quarter's high by nine per cent. Samsung contributed to that boost with 81.2 million unit shipments, more than Apple, Huawei, Lenovo, and LG combined.

Samsung's success was aided by extensive carrier support for its Galaxy S4, continued demand for the Galaxy S3, and the launch of the Galaxy Note 3. But IDC also pointed to Samsung's endless lineup of mass-market phones.

Still, Apple saw early success with its new iPhone 5S and 5C, which helped the company grow 25.7 per cent globally over last year and ship 33.8 million iPhones during the quarter.

After that, it's a tight race between Huawei, Lenovo, and LG. Huawei slipped into third spot with 4.8 per cent of the market. But it barely beat out Lenovo with 4.7 per cent and LG with 4.6 per cent. Lenovo and Huawei relied heavily on the Asia/Pacific regions for the bulk of their shipments, IDC said, but both are making headway in other markets, like Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

LG, meanwhile, boasted strong double-digit growth, despite its drop to fifth place. The company recently introduced a curved smartphone, the LG G Flex.

"Any of these vendors could change position again next quarter," Llamas said. "But in addition to having close shipment volumes, they all have one key ingredient in common: Android. This has been a huge factor in their success, but it also speaks to the challenges of differentiation on the world's most popular platform."

With the help of the Android and iOS systems, Llamas said the market could reach a milestone one billion units by the end of the year.

That number appears to be attainable, based on separate Strategy Analytics data, which tipped a much smaller quarterly growth (seven per cent), but a higher volume of total units (418 million).

The firm also reported a different lineup of global mobile phone vendor shipments, keeping Samsung in the lead, but sliding Nokia into second place, dropping Apple to third, LG to fourth, and Huawei to fifth.