Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi Finish 2015 with Above Average Year-Over-Year Growth, as Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Surpass 1.4 Billion for the Year, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--()--A strong holiday quarter boosted worldwide smartphone volumes to new record levels thanks to robust product offerings at numerous price points in both mature and emerging markets. According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 399.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2015 (4Q15), resulting in 5.7% growth when compared to the 377.8 million units shipped in the last quarter of 2014. For the full year, the worldwide smartphone market saw a total of 1432.9 million units shipped, marking the highest year of shipments on record, up 10.1% from the 1301.7 million units shipped in 2014.

"Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei's strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand," said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "While there is a lot of uncertainty around the economic slowdown in China, Huawei is one of the few brands from China that has successfully diversified worldwide, with almost half of its shipments going outside of China. Huawei is poised to be in a good position to hold onto a strong number 3 over the next year."

Apple continued to dominate headlines in the quarter as 4Q15 represented its most successful quarter yet with 74.8 million units shipped, up 1% from the 74.5 million shipped last year. Although the Cupertino-based vendor witnessed minimal growth year over year, its 2015 total market share climbed to 16.2%, up from 14.8% in 2014. Growth in key markets such as China were up 18%, in which 50% were first-time iPhone owners. Sales in many emerging markets were also up as India saw the biggest increase among the BRIC countries with 76% growth. Apple accomplished all this despite the increase in average selling price (ASP) for an iPhone. ASPs climbed to $691, up from $687 one year ago, potentially pointing to increased demand for a larger screen and higher capacity models.

"With initial Apple shipment estimates all over the map, Apple assured the public that demand for its premium smartphones is still alive and kicking," said Anthony Scarsella, Research Manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "A new record-setting quarter for Apple indicates consumers continued demand for Apple's latest offerings regarding upgraded hardware and software. Features such as a more widely accepted Apple Pay, increased performance, and the innovative Force Touch technology, continue to set the iPhone apart from the competition.

"To combat Apple at the high-end, competing vendors will need to bring value to consumers to stay relevant in the market," added Scarsella. "With heavy saturation in many mature smartphone markets such as the U.S., Europe, and China, many vendors have placed a renewed focus on pushing premium-looking mid-tier devices as a new value proposition to consumers in both developed and emerging markets. Samsung has found success in this segment with its A-Series, and Huawei with its Honor brand. We expect similar devices to appear in 2016 from a variety of vendors that will focus on affordable value without neglecting performance and aesthetics."

Smartphone Vendor Highlights:

Samsung remained the leader in the worldwide smartphone market for the quarter and the year with 85.6 million units shipped in 4Q15, up 14% from last year. The Korean giant finished the year with 324.8 million shipments, which is up only 2.1% from the 318.2 million shipments in 2014. With continuously increasing 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.

Apple hit a new high with 74.8 million units shipped, albeit just 0.3 million more than the same quarter one year ago. Continued demand for Apple's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, particularly in China and the U.S., elevated Apple in 2015 to 231.5 million units shipped in the year. This represents 20.2% growth from the 192.7 million units shipped in 2014. The combination of new innovative features such as Apple Pay and Force Touch, combined with a new Rose Gold color, better performance, and increased speed, helped drive upgrades and attracted Android switchers in record numbers.

Huawei was the biggest winner in the quarter, with the strongest year-over-year growth among the top five vendors at 37%. Huawei also became the fourth mobile phone vendor in history to ship over 100 million smartphones in a year (preceded only by Nokia, Samsung and Apple). Of the key brands originating from China, Huawei has consistently expanded its presence and share on the back of affordable handsets in emerging markets, combined with increasingly competitive flagship models.

Lenovo, just over one year after its acquisition of Motorola, was still trying to find its feet amidst organizational changes while facing greater competition in its domestic market from smaller, local competitors at the low end. The Motorola brand, strong in 2014 in the Americas with the Moto G and Moto X, saw fewer groundbreaking new models in 2015. The Motorola name will be shortened to just "Moto" and be used for high-end devices while the "Vibe" brand from Lenovo will represent the low-end. Lenovo will also put its faith entirely in Motorola as they have elected Moto to design, develop, and manufacture smartphone products going forward.

Xiaomi leaned heavily on the China market for growth, where volumes were still 90% domestic on average compared to international, despite ramping up in India and launching in Brazil. Xiaomi spent 2015 trying to encourage a transition away from the low-end range of models into more midrange models, although the bulk of shipments still rest on low-end volumes from the Redmi line. On the basis of this growth, it was able to widen the gap from number 6, LG.

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q4 2015
Preliminary Data (Units in Millions)

Vendor    

4Q15
Shipment
Volumes

   

4Q15 Market
Share

   

4Q14
Shipment
Volumes

   

4Q14 Market
Share

   

Year-Over-
Year Growth

1. Samsung     85.6     21.4%     75.1     19.9%     14.0%
2. Apple     74.8     18.7%     74.5     19.7%     0.4%
3. Huawei     32.4     8.1%     23.6     6.3%     37.0%
4. Lenovo     20.2     5.1%     14.1     3.7%     43.6%
5. Xiaomi     18.2     4.6%     16.5     4.4%     10.0%
Others     168.3     42.1%     174.0     46.1%     -3.3%
Total     399.5     100.0%     377.8     100.0%     5..7%

Lenovo +
Motorola

    20.2     8.1%     24.7     6.5%    

-18.1%

                   

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2015

 

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Calendar
Year 2015 Preliminary Data (Units in Millions)

Vendor    

2015
Shipment
Volumes

   

2015 Market
Share

   

2014
Shipment
Volumes

   

2014 Market
Share

   

Year-Over-
Year Growth

1. Samsung     324.8     22.7%     318.2     24.4%     2.1%
2. Apple     231.5     16.2%     192.7     14.8%     20.2%
3. Huawei     106.6     7.4%     73.8     5.7%     44.3%
4. Lenovo     74.0     5.2%     59.4     4.6%     24.5%
5. Xiaomi     70.8     4.9%     57.7     4.4%     22.8%
Others     625.2     43.6%     599.9     46.1%     4.2%
Total     1,432.9     100.0%     1,301.7     100.0%     10.1%

Lenovo +
Motorola

    73.9     5.16%     93.7     7.20%     -21.1%
                   

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2015

Notes:

  • Data is preliminary and subject to change.
  • Vendor shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
  • The "Vendor" represents the current parent company (or holding company) for all brands owned and operated as subsidiary.

For year-over-year comparisons, IDC has included an extra line item below the quarterly and annual tables to show what Lenovo's growth would have looked like had its acquisition of Motorola been completed prior to the end of Q4 2014.

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide unit shipments for the top 5 smartphone vendors over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

About IDC Trackers
IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on their iPhone and iPad. The IDC Tracker Chart app is also available for Android Phones and Android Tablets.

For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com.

About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC.

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

Contacts

IDC
Ryan Reith, +1-650-350-6242
rreith@idc.com
or
Anthony Scarsella, 508-935-4712
ascarsella@idc.com
or
Melissa Chau, +65 6829 7713
melissachau@idc.com
or
Michael Shirer, +1-508-935-4200
press@idc.com

Release Summary

According to new data from IDC, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 399.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2015 (4Q15), resulting in 5.7% year-over-year growth.

Contacts

IDC
Ryan Reith, +1-650-350-6242
rreith@idc.com
or
Anthony Scarsella, 508-935-4712
ascarsella@idc.com
or
Melissa Chau, +65 6829 7713
melissachau@idc.com
or
Michael Shirer, +1-508-935-4200
press@idc.com