Samsung continues to better Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) in global smartphone sales, and the trend for the U.S. company gets worse by the quarter. Apple’s slide, such a great concern to investors, may not reverse itself unless the new iPhone 6 is a huge hit.
According to research firm Strategy Analytics:
[G]lobal smartphone shipments grew 33 percent annually to reach 285 million units in the first quarter of 2014. Leaders Samsung and Apple lost slight traction in the quarter, while Huawei and Lenovo each held five percent marketshare worldwide.
Samsung shipped 89 million units in the first quarter, and its market share was 31.2%. Apple shipped 43.7 million units and its market share was 15.3% in the same period.
Strategy Analytics management made the point that Apple and Samsung are losing ground, but together their market share is so huge that it hardly matters. Linda Sui, senior analyst at the firm, remarked:
The combined global smartphone marketshare of Samsung and Apple has slipped from 50 percent in Q1 2013 to 47 percent in Q1 2014. There is more competition than ever coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei remained steady with 5 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q1 2014, while Lenovo has increased its global presence from 4 percent to 5 percent share during the past year. Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while Lenovo continues to grow aggressively outside China into new regions such as Russia. If the recent Lenovo takeover of Motorola gets approved by various governments in the coming months, this will eventually create an even larger competitive force that Samsung and Apple must contend with in the second half of this year.
However, with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and new versions of Samsung’s Galaxy flagship, the two leaders could certainly claw back market share in future quarters. Many analysts believe that Apple and Samsung are the only profitable smartphone operations. And each has massive marketing and R&D budgets, along with balance sheets rich with cash.
The dip for Samsung and Apple may be in place for no longer than a quarter.