Samsung widens worldwide smartphone unit share lead

According to Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies services, global smartphone shipments grew 6 percent annually from 380.1 million units in Q4 2014 to 404.5 million in Q4 2015. This quarter was the smartphone industry’s slowest growth rate of all time. Smartphone growth is slowing due to increasing penetration maturity in major markets like China and consumer worries about the future of the world economy. Global smartphone shipments grew 12 percent annually from 1.28 billion in full-year 2014 to a record 1.44 billion in 2015.

Samsung shipped 81.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2015, growing an above-average 9 percent annually from 74.5 million units in Q4 2014. This was Samsung’s fastest growth rate for almost two years and it helped Samsung to stay ahead of Apple and maintain first position with 20 percent share for the quarter and 22 percent share for the full year.

Apple shipped 74.8 million smartphones worldwide and captured 18 percent marketshare in Q4 2015 versus 74.5 million units in Q4 2014. Apple’s iPhone growth is peaking, therefore Apple will have to expand into new markets like India or Nigeria if it wants to reignite iPhone growth in 2016, according to Strategy Analytics.

Huawei maintained third position with 8 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2015, up from 6 percent a year ago. Huawei joined an elite club and shipped over 100 million smartphones in a year for the first time ever during 2015. However, there are signs that Huawei’s growth is starting to slow. Its annual growth rate of 35 percent halved sequentially from 62 percent in the prior quarter, as major vendors like Xiaomi began to fight back in core markets of Asia.

Lenovo-Motorola held on to fourth position with 5 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2015, but its shipment growth rate declined minus 18 percent annually. The merger of Lenovo and Motorola has so far not been a success and the two firms’ combined smartphone shipments today are lower than when they first joined together in 2014.

Xiaomi maintained fifth place with 5 percent marketshare in Q4 2015.

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in Q4 2015
Strategy Analytics: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in Q4 2015

Source: Strategy Analytics

MacDailyNews Take: For how much longer will beleaguered Samsung attempt and fail to make it up on volume before they throw in the towel?

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Ben Bajarin: ‘Samsung will be out of the smartphone business within five years’ – November 2, 2015
Apple’s iPhone can soon reap 100 percent of world’s smartphone profits – November 17, 2015
Apple’s iPhone owns 94% of smartphone industry’s profits – November 16, 2015
Apple iPhone owns over 90% of smartphone profits, so why do others even bother fighting over Apple’s scraps? – October 8, 2015
Beleaguered Samsung’s future depends more on components than on copying Apple – October 7, 2015
Beleaguered Samsung finding it tough to compete Apple’s revolutionary iPhone – October 6, 2015
Apple’s iPhone juggernaut continues with record-breaking sales while Android peddlers fight over scraps – September 28, 2015
Apple’s iPhone owns 92% of smartphone industry’s profits – July 13, 2015
Poor man’s iPhone: Android on the decline – February 26, 2015
Study: iPhone users are smarter and richer than those who settle for Android phones – January 22, 2015
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CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013


  1. “For how much longer will beleaguered Samsung attempt and fail to make it up on volume before they throw in the towel?”

    I have them pencilled in for the end of 2017.

  2. Focusing on: “This quarter was the smartphone industry’s slowest growth rate of all time.”

    We’ve been waiting for the actual rollout of actual 4G phone technology, more commonly known as LTE Advanced, for YEARS now! The tech standard has been sitting around, gathering dust while nearly none of the lazy, cheap and stupid mobile providers bother to invest in it. Instead, they just want to parasitically suck on money while providing the least reinvestment possible. This is just like the ISPs, and some of these companies are one in the same.

    Meanwhile, despite this intransigence over real 4G, we endlessly read hype about 5G, which is way off in the distance, another spate of years of waiting from now.

    Down at the customer level this means: “My smartphone runs 3G (aka fake ‘4G’) and nothing better has come along. So why bother to upgrade?

    ∑ = Why Bother To Upgrade? Thank you, cheap, lazy, stupid mobile providers.

    And note how this is despite the fact that the iPhone 6S series actually supports real 4G, aka LTE Advanced! If you can’t get real 4G in your area, what’s the point?

    Solution: A worldwide, universal rollout of LTE Advanced. Catch up already!

    Read all about it:

  3. How is this good news, they worked a lot harder to make a lot more units, but there revenue dropped 18% (i believe form other note) and actual margins felled much more “after 4Q profit plunges 40%”.
    Also another note states that “tracking smartphone data, notes that 3 in 5 smartphones shipped in 2015 were LTE capable “, TRANSLATION: 40% is NOT LTE, APPLE does only LTE, and that samsung does most of the other sales. we can infer that Many of SAMSUNG smartphones are not even TLE so not in APPLEs league.

  4. Selling more phones than Apple is a feat, but also giving phones away for little or no cost is as well. and What’s the 2nd hand market for samsung phones? oh yeah, none. There’s a HUGE market selling old iphones, who have thought?

  5. Samsung phones sold for an average of $241 each in Q4 2015. In contrast iPhones sold for an average of $690. So, normalized for sell price, Apple sold an equivalent of 214 million Samsung devices.

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