iPhone 6 Pushes 2014 Smartphone Sales Over One Billion

Gartner figures show Apple overtook Samsung as the world’s largest mobile company

Smartphone sales topped over a billion units in 2014 as the continuing battle for supremacy continues.

The immense growth was fuelled by huge demand for Apple’s latest iPhones, released in September, which saw 367.5 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The company sold 74.8m smartphones in Q4 2014, up 25m on the same period last year, driven by an explosion in demand from China that helped push its profits to a record $18bn (£11.8bn) in the final quarter.

Overall, 2014 smartphone sales totalled 1.2 billion units, up 28.4 percent from 2013.

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“With Apple dominating the premium phone market and the Chinese vendors increasingly offering quality hardware at lower prices, it is through a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

Samsung sold 73m units in Q4 2014, a drop of nearly 10m sales from the same period in 2013, mainly due to the lack of a new flagship device (which the company amended with the launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge earlier this week).

“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”

However, both companies were hit by smaller providers stealing market share away.

Xiaomi more than doubled its market share during 2014 to five percent, selling almost 19m units in the final three months of 2014, up from 6m the year before. Lenovo is in third place with 24m units sold, and Huawei fourth with 21m units.

Android was by far and away the overall leader in the world OS battle, with 80.7 percent of new devices sold in 2014 running Google’s software, as opposed to 15.4 percent on iOS. Windows Phone took 2.8 percent of the worldwide share, with BlackBerry clinging on with 0.6 percent.

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