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Smartphone Sales Growth ‘Less Than Expected’ In Q3 Despite iPhone 6S

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Global smartphone shipments grow according to IDC but marginally less than expected despite flagship launches

Samsung is still the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer but overall shipments from all manufacturers during the third quarter of 2015, according to IDC, which said figures were slight lower than its original forecast.

Analysts said they anticipated more iPhone shipments and suggested Android manufacturers were too concerned about fighting each other at the high end of the market, meaning many devices were outside the price ‘sweet spot.’

“The third quarter placed a substantial emphasis on flagship devices as vendors tried to outclass each other in both features and design,” said Anthony Scarsella, research manager of mobile phones.

Smartphone sales

iPHone 6S“New flagship models translated to fiercer competition at the high-end for most players as many will try to challenge both Samsung and Apple for a place among the elite. However, despite the glitz and glamour at the high-end, we still expect the bulk of volume and growth to once again sprout from low to mid-range handsets, particularly in emerging markets.”

In total, 355.2 million devices were sold during the period – up 6.85 percent year on year – with Samsung maintaining its crown with 84.5 million and 23.8 percent of the market. Despite IDC’s expectation Apple would sell more devices, the company recently boasted of a ‘record’ quarter for iPhone sales and now has 13.5 percent of the market after selling 48 million units.

The rest of the top five, which fluctuates regularly, is made up of Chinese manufacturers. Huawei is third with 7.5 percent of the market, while Lenovo and Motorola command 5.43 percent and Xiaomi has 5.2 percent.

Fears of smartphone saturation have existed for some time in developed markets as consumers who have already migrated from feature phones choose to upgrade their devices less frequently. However IDC believes new finance options like Apple’s upgrade programme could help alleviate the situation.

“The vendor landscape and product offerings are really unique at the moment as many markets are seeing consumers become more aware of alternative buying options when it comes to paying for their smartphone,” said Ryan Reith, programme director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “In mature and subsidized markets, we now have a wide range of operators offering equipment installation plans (EIP), as well as early trade-in options. At the same time the number of unlocked/off-contract offerings has increased significantly and it’s slowly starting to resonate with consumers.”

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