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Gartner: Smartphones register smallest growth since 2013, Samsung loses share

Just days after GfK, another market research firm released its Q2 2015 mobile report, with troublesome findings for the industry as a whole and its leader in particular.

Samsung down

It might seem silly to worry when you dominate a business as competitive and lucrative as smartphone manufacturing with over 20 percent of the global pie, amounting to quarter sales of around 72 million units.

Yet Samsung has every reason to be anxious, given Q2 2015 was supposed to be a period of easy share gains on the seemingly predictable rise of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and the fall of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

That obviously didn’t happen, which is in part why we already got an S6 Edge+, and the Korean OEM’s stake of worldwide smartphone shipments dropped almost 5 percent year-over-year. From 26.2 between April and June 2014 to 21.9 percent during the same timeframe this year.

Naturally, the Galaxy’s losses meant important surges for the competition, namely Apple, which sold 48 million iPhones in Q2 2015, up an incredible 13 mil compared to 2014. Also, Huawei enjoyed a substantial boom, from a 6.1 to 7.8 percent share, and if the rising Chinese star can keep up the pace, they’ll enter double-digit land before long.

Smartphone sales by manufacturer

In fourth place, Lenovo managed to barely beat Xiaomi (16.4 vs 16M unit sales), but the trend is unfavorable towards the PC ruler, whose purchase of Motorola flopped. Overall, smartphones continue to soar, posting 330 million sales, up 13.5 percent from 2014’s first fiscal quarter.

Unfortunately, that actually represents the slowest growth rate since 2013, confirming predictions of saturation. Especially in China, the largest market in the world, where sales tumbled 4 percent year-on-year.

That’s largely due to declining demand as far as entry-level, budget-friendly handhelds are concerned. Essentially, everyone’s got one of those already, and now the challenge is to make people upgrade to more premium, pricier models.

Other emerging territories across the globe recorded progresses exactly thanks to “lower-cost 3G and 4G smartphones”, which in turn may stagger soon enough. Bottom line, the future is in the hands of flagships, but they need to awe and inspire, not just offer iterative performance enhancements.

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