Having sold 74.8 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2014, when Samsung only sold 73 million smartphones, Apple has finally become the leader of the phone market. This is the first time since 2011 when iPhones are sold better than Samsung smartphones globally.
The company founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak has reached its highest profit so far (higher than any private company’s profit ever reported): $ 18 billion in the last quarter of 2014, while Samsung declared that their profits have decreased by 37% compared to the previous year.
After Apple (with 20.4% of the smartphone market share) and Samsung (19.9%) comes Lenovo (who bought Motorola’s mobile division in the fall of 2014). Although its market share is still far behind the two giants (6.6%), this still represents a 47.6% growth over last year’s share. The ascending trend of this company is mirrored by other rising stars like Xiaomi (who offers good quality Android at more affordable prices and who tripled its sales in the last year). Having shipped 18.6 million smartphones in the last quarter of the past year, just a little behind Huawei’s 21 million and Lenovo’s 24 million, Xiaomi has a success that indicates that there is still an interest for alternatives, although Apple is so far ahead.
The ascent of these Chinese companies on the lower cost market, along with Apple’s domination on the premium phone market, exposes Samsung to a double pressure. The way to survive this crisis, according to Gartner research director Roberta Cozza, is for Samsung to aim for a longer-term differentiation by structuring its apps and services in a very coherent, organic manner.
Despite Apple’s clear advance in the last quarter of 2014, Samsung remains the biggest vendor of the year in the phone industry, with 307.5 million devices shipped (compared to Apple’s 191.4 million). The whole smartphone market has surpassed the 1 billion threshold in 2014 (1.2 billion devices sold, compared to 969.7 million in 2013).
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