Watch out, Samsung and Apple. Chinese smartphone brands are picking up steam and giving the two market leaders a run for their money.
According to a report from TrendForce, Chinese companies like Lenovo, Huawei, and Xiaomi made up nearly 40 percent of global smartphone shipments last year, and represented six of the top 10 smartphone brands worldwide.
“2014 was definitely an impressive year for Chinese brands as they gained more share of the global market,” Avril Wu, global smartphone analyst of TrendForce, said in a statement.
But Samsung and Apple still dominate. Together, the two market leaders shipped 518 million units last year, compared to 453.4 million units shipped by the many up-and-coming Chinese brands. Overall global smartphone shipments totaled 1.167 billion units in 2014, a 25.9 percent year-over-year increase.
While Samsung is still the king of the market, 2014 was a “difficult” year for the Korean company, TrendForce said. Its share of the market dropped to 28 percent from 32.5 percent in 2013 with annual growth only at 8.4 percent for around 326.4 million units shipped last year. Samsung’s high-end Galaxy Note series “faced stiff challenges” from Apple’s new 6 Plus , and its midlevel and low-end smartphones were “undercut” by inexpensive Chinese brands, Wu said.
No. 2 Apple, meanwhile, nabbed 16.4 percent market share and “maintained its high annual growth rate” of 24.5 percent, translating to 191.3 million units shipped worldwide for the entire year. “Apple’s position was attributed to the success of its first large-size smartphone model, the iPhone 6 Plus,” TrendForce said. “This new category addressed Apple’s lack of smartphones with above 5-inch screens and thus significantly raised the fourth quarter shipping ratio.”
Lenovo, which recently acquired Motorola Mobility, took third, followed by LG, Huawei, and Xiaomi. Rounding out the top 10 were Coolpad at No. 7, followed by Sony, ZTE, and TCL.