In a smartphone market that grew by 23 percent over the past year, Samsung has somehow managed to ship fewer phones. The vast Korean conglomerate is still the distant leader in terms of shipments — sending out more than 74 million handsets over the past three months — but its lead has been eroded by a rising tide of low-cost Chinese smartphone makers, according to the latest figures from IDC. Huawei is the standout from that group, recording a 95 percent increase in global shipments and sliding into third place behind Samsung and Apple. It's followed by Lenovo in fourth, but the more daunting thing for established brands like Samsung is the sheer number of upstart Chinese manufacturers capable of stealing away sales with lower prices.
Samsung's biggest threat comes from China, not Cupertino
According to IDC's Ryan Reith, "Right now we have more than a dozen vendors that are capable of landing in the top 5 next quarter." The explosive growth of smaller Chinese outfits like Mi illustrates how important and hotly contested the developing markets will be for the continued growth of smartphone vendors. Apple seems to have adapted to this situation well, with IDC commenting positively on its expansion in the key markets of Brazil, India, Russia, and China. The same is true of Lenovo, whose sales outside of China have grown significantly, and of LG, whose unheralded L series have kept momentum growing. It's only Samsung, perhaps by virtue of its already enormous presence in the market, that's seeing shipments of its Galaxy devices decline as those of others continue to rise.