Smartphones are among the most successful products of all time, cutting across all segments of society and almost every country. Despite the fact that market saturation has been reached in many nations, major firms are still managing to achieve impressive growth.
Statistics from the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that the average selling price of smartphones fell to $316 (£186) over the first quarter of 2014 – a record low, and a $20 (£12) drop since the last quarter of 2013. Furthermore, while smartphones accounted for just over half (50.7%) of the mobile phone market a year ago, they now account for almost two-thirds (63.1%) of it.
But while smartphones have exploded in popularity over recent years, this growth is not continual. A total of 287.3 million units were shipped over the first quarter of the year; although this represents a 31.5% annual rise, it also represents a 0.7% fall on the last quarter of 2013’s figure. A fall in shipment volumes is not unusual following the holiday season, with the IDC referring to this drop as an “expected retrenchment.”
Android is overwhelmingly the most widely-used mobile operating system on Earth, used by 81.1% of all smartphone users. This is followed by Apple’s iOS, used by 15.2%. While Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia helped Windows Phone achieve an 8.7% year-on-year growth in shipments, the operating system is used in just 2.7% of all smartphones. Ailing BlackBerry only managed to hold on to 0.5% of the market, compared with 2.9% a year ago and 13.6% in the first quarter of 2011. Other operating systems took a mere 0.6% market share – in the beginning of 2011, they controlled almost a third (30.8%) of the market, but have been squeezed out by the four giants.
Samsung is the most popular smartphone vendor, selling a massive 30.8% of all smartphones. Rival Apple managed to hold on to a 15.2% market share, with Huwei, Lenovo and LG controlling 4.7%, 4.4% and 4.3% of the market respectively. In fact, by the end of the first quarter of the year, Samsung managed to sell more smartphones than its four biggest rivals sold combined.