Global smartphone shipments exceed 1.3 billion (Numbers inside)

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ZhugeEX

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Hi guys,

For those of you that don’t know I work in the telecommunications industry and get access to various bits of data. What I’ve been doing for a while now is compiling data from various sources including data direct from Vendors and market research organisations as well as data points I have access to with estimates from myself in order to understand how the smartphone market is performing every year.

You can see my previous report here which covers Q2 and Q3 2014. The report below covers the whole of 2014. I’ve been very busy so have recycled a lot of the writing but changed the numbers to reflect this full calendar year.

This report covers the global smartphone market for calendar year 2014 which runs from January 1st through to December 31st. I have made sure the data used in this report is as accurate as possible and even included a number of data points that are not available publicly.

0. Global Market – 1301m
A total of 1301m smartphones were shipped in calendar year 2014. This is an almost 29% increase over the same period last year when a total of 1010m smartphones were shipped. Smartphone shipments are set to continue growing in 2015 at a slightly slower rate and we should see over 1500m smartphones shipped. Android held the largest share this year with approximately 1060m Android devices shipped. This is equal to around 82% market share. Apple shipped a total of 192.7m iOS devices in 2014 giving them a total of just under 15% market share. Windows Phone was the third biggest OS with a total of ~39m shipments which gives them around 3% market share. Around 95% of all Windows Phone shipments were Lumia branded devices, around 30% of all Android smartphones were Samsung branded devices.

1. Samsung – 318.1m
Samsung was the biggest smartphone vendor once again with 318.1m smartphones shipped during calendar year 2014. This gives Samsung an overall 24% market share which is down from the 30% market share that Samsung had during 2013. Samsung has seen increased competition in China where a number of local Chinese brands have taken over, In Europe where price consciousness is starting to grow and even in the USA where Apple is putting up a fight. Although Samsung has long relied on its high-end devices, its mid-range and low-end models drove volume for the quarter and subsequently drove down ASPs. Samsung was the only company to lose significant market share out of the big 5 and we may see this continue into 2015. Samsung have sold in less than 40 million Galaxy S5’s worldwide and Galaxy S4 cumulative sales have exceeded 70m.

2. Apple – 192.7m
Apple was the second largest smartphone vendor in 2014 with a market share of 15%. Apple sold in 153.4m units in 2013 which gave them the same share of 15%, Apple is growing in line with the market and has seen excellent sales across all markets. Apple had a record Q4 with sales of 74.5m which almost matched Samsung (75.5m). Apple has seen huge growth in it’s home market as well as overseas thanks to the launch of the iPhone 6 as well as the larger screened iPhone 6 Plus which has seen success in many developing markets. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have sold more than 70 million units cumulatively and sales for both devices are expected to exceed 100 million before the end of Q1 2015.

3. Lenovo – 96.5m
After acquiring Motorola, Lenovo is now the third biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world with an 7.5% market share. Lenovo has found success in emerging markets such as Africa, Middle East, Asia and its home country of China where it has released a number of low cost 4G handsets. Motorola has seen success in western markets but has started to tap into a number of emerging markets such as South America. 40% of Lenovo’s sales currently come from China with Lenovo now looking to launch their Motorola brand into the competitive China market.

4. Huawei – 75.0m
Huawei have done very well this year gaining a 6% market share with 75 million units shipped. This can be attributed with Huawei’s push with 4G LTE devices and brand promotion across all markets. The Huawei Ascend P7 has sold in more than 4 million units and Huawei’s latest flagship phone, the Ascend Mate 7 has sold in more than 2 million units worldwide. The popular Honor brand smartphones have sold cumulative 20 million units in 2014. Around 38% of the phones shipped during 2014 support 4G LTE and Huawei’s mobile device business plan to ship over 100 million smartphones in CY2015.

5. Xiaomi – 61.1m
Xiaomi have come out of nowhere to become the fifth largest smartphone manufacturer worldwide. Not many people know who Xiaomi are as over 90% of their shipments are to China with the remaining 10% being sold in to emerging markets such as India and south east Asia. Xiaomi have yet to tap into the western market but it looks like they don’t need to as they’ve grown rapidly in the past year. During the same period last year Xiaomi barely scratched 19 million units. This year their shipment number has more than tripled. Xiaomi are aiming to ship 100 million units in CY2015 despite increase competition in their home market.

6. LG Electronics – 59.2m
LG saw smartphone shipments increase by 24% YOY led by the LG G3 which has sold in almost 10 million units worldwide. The LG G3 and the L Series smartphones have allowed LG to grow in line with the market however they will face a tough year ahead in 2015. North America have been the biggest contributor to LG this year where shipments have grown by around 40%. LTE smartphone sales are up by over 100% YOY.

7. Coolpad – 49.1m
Coolpad are a smartphone brand in China. Despite the fact they only ship in China they are the 7th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. In China they are leading the way in 4G smartphone shipments after launching over 12 new 4G models this year. In fact just under 40% of all of shipments from Coolpad were 4G smartphones. Coolpad won’t ever reach the same shipment numbers that other Chinese manufacturers like Lenovo, Xiaomi and Huawei will get to because they ship domestically whilst the others rely on the international market for increased sales.

8. ZTE – 48.0m
ZTE are a Chinese brand who sell a number of devices in their home market and overseas. They were once on par in terms of shipments with Huawei but Huawei have expended massively thanks to their international expansion, ZTE are still yet to grow massively outside of Asia. But Asia is still enough to give ZTE the 8th position in terms of worldwide shipments.

9. TCL – 41.5m
Many of you may not have heard of TCL, over here in the west they are known as Alcatel and they are becoming a major brand worldwide this year thanks to their “One Touch” series. TCL have seen huge growth in 2014 with shipments increasing 136% YOY from 17.6m . TCL has seen the biggest revenue increase in the Americas region as well as it’s home market. What many people don’t know is that TCL is actually massive when you combine their smartphone + feature phone shipments, only 56% of their total shipments are smartphones an cumulative sales of smartphones and feature phones exceeded 73.5m in 2014.

10. Sony – 40.0m
Sony is not in the best of places. They were committed to selling in 50 million smartphones for FY2014-15 but after looking at the first 3 quarters they’ve revised the number down to 39m The Z series smartphones have been very popular for Sony but not popular enough to increase sales significantly YOY due to lack of interest in North America and China. In fact sales have barely increased YOY. Sony will focus on their mid and high end handsets and hope to extend the lifecycle between their flagship devices.

Honourable Mention: Microsoft – 35.4m
After acquiring the Lumia brand, Microsoft hasn’t been able to break the top 10 with only just over 11 million units sold in the last quarter of 2014. The Lumia brand accounts for around ~95% of all Windows Phone smartphones and so it can be seen that Windows Phone hasn’t taken off yet. Growth has stagnated YOY and no one is expecting Windows Phone market share to grow at all. The general consensus at the moment is that Windows Phone will always be that “third place” OS. However Windows 10 will bring a renewed interest in Windows Phone but it’s not expected to have a huge impact. We'll have to wait and see how Microsoft will try and promote Windows 10 on Mobile.

Others-
- Blackberry sold in over 8 million smartphones worldwide during 2014. This is down compared to the almost 23 million sold in during the same period last year. The number of active Blackberry subscribers is now less than 33 million.
- HTC are not to be seen on the top 10 list anymore with less than 20 million units sold in 2014. It’s all doom and gloom for HTC and they even lost their number 1 place in their home market to Apple in the last quarter of 2014. HTC has sold in more than 5 million units of its flagship M8 handset.
- Oppo achieved cumulative shipments of over 20 million units in 2014.
- Asus sold in 8.5 million units in CY2014 with more than 4.5 million in the last quarter alone. This is thanks to the popularity of their Zenfone in both their home as well as overseas markets.
- Acer sold in just under 5 million units in 2014.


Active smartphone install base:
There is now over 2.2 billion active smartphone users worldwide. Android users account for over 1.6 billion active smartphone users, Apple accounts for over 420 million, Windows Phone accounts for 50 million smartphone users and Blackberry has 33 million. The other category accounts for over 30 million.

Conclusion
Once again it’s all about China with 6 of the top 10 being Chinese vendors each shipping between 40 million and 100 million smartphones in 2014. Companies like Xiaomi and TCL have seen tremendous growth whilst Huawei, Coolpad and ZTE are continuing to grow at a healthy rate. Samsung have seen sales remain flat whilst Apple continue to grow in line with the market and exceed expectations. It’s clear that 2015 is going to see a fight from Samsung to maintain smartphone shipments whilst the other manufacturers including Apple edge ever closer. Samsung is far from being dethroned but they need to do something soon to maintain their market share.

Comparison time:
Number of smartphones sold in 2014: 1301m
Number of PC’s sold in 2014: 316m
Number of tablets sold in 2014: 230m
Number of home consoles sold in 2014: 34.8m
Number of dedicated handhelds sold in 2014: 11.2m

 

Miles X

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Sweet. Think you're wrong about Windows/Nokia/MS. There was no real flagship last year and they're still near their peak in terms of yearly shipments.
 

JNA

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Didn't realize Samsung phones were THAT much bigger than IPhones. That surprises me.

Also dat gap between Samsung and Apple to other companies.
 

Souldriver

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Kinda weird how in my mind HTC is one of those top phone makers together with Samsung and LG. I guess it's all thanks to their "One" flagship being so high profile.


Also, I'm kinda sad that Nokia won't appear on such lists any longer.
 

ZhugeEX

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Sweet. Think you're wrong about Windows/Nokia/MS. There was no real flagship last year and they're still near their peak in terms of yearly shipments.
Compared to 2013, 2014 shipments grew by about 2-3 million units. Not much in the grand scheme of things when you consider they hold less than 3% market share. It'll be up to Windows 10 to prove whether Windows Phone can continue to grow YOY in a meaningful way or whether sales will stagnate or even decline.

Ahh what a glorious age we live in!
Truly a great invention this smart phone.
I thank you for your information original poster.
Thanks! It really is a massive market!

Didn't realize Samsung phones were THAT much bigger than IPhones. That surprises me.

Also dat gap between Samsung and Apple to other companies.
Samsung is massive, which is funny because 5 years ago they were only the 5th largest Smartphone brand.

In the USA the gap between Samsung and Apple is tiny with Apple actually holding more market share. Worldwide though Samsung are way ahead thanks to the number of markets they're in and the range of phones they have.

Kinda weird how in my mind HTC is one of those top phone makers together with Samsung and LG. I guess it's all thanks to their "One" flagship being so high profile.


Also, I'm kinda sad that Nokia won't appear on such lists any longer.
HTC are still a global brand, they've been with Android since the beginning and still have a presence in the USA, Europe and Asia. But they're declining quickly and I don't see them bouncing back unfortunately.

But as I said, it's their already large presence in the markets above that keeps them selling handsets. Similar to how Nokia or Motorola used to be massive with feature phones but with Smartphones they haven't exactly done well, but people still know who they are and associate them as a big brand.
 

JNA

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Samsung is massive, which is funny because 5 years ago they were only the 5th largest Smartphone brand.

In the USA the gap between Samsung and Apple is tiny with Apple actually holding more market share. Worldwide though Samsung are way ahead thanks to the number of markets they're in and the range of phones they have.
So Samsung is like Sony and Apple is Microsoft when it comes to phones? XD

Also I'm surprised that Blackberry is still a thing in 2015. How much longer do they have now?
 

Cheebo

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So Samsung is like Sony and Apple is Microsoft when it comes to phones? XD

Also I'm surprised that Blackberry is still a thing in 2015. How much longer do they have now?
Apple is #1 in Japan like America so that video game comparison doesn't really work. ;) Samsung does actually pretty awful in Japan. Japan I believe in terms of % is the country Apple has the largest lead in against the competition.
 

1st Course

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Also interesting how weak Japanese companies in this market. Do Japanese companies other than Sony even bring their phones overseas?
 

JNA

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Apple is #1 in Japan like America so that video game comparison doesn't really work. ;) Samsung does actually pretty awful in Japan. Japan I believe in terms of % is the country Apple has the largest lead in against the competition.
Ah ok. I was only jesting. :p

Apple I can defeinitly see being popular in Japan.
 

ZhugeEX

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just got me lg 3g yesterday and it's amazing

best phone I've ever owned

hope lg can stay strong in the marketplace
It's an excellent phone. LG aren't going anywhere, they just have a lot of competition coming up so it'll be interesting to see how much they can grow in 2015.

So Samsung is like Sony and Apple is Microsoft when it comes to phones? XD
Errrrrmmmm, You know Sony and Microsoft also make phones hahaha! So what would Nintendo be? Blackberry? lol

Also I'm surprised that Blackberry is still a thing in 2015. How much longer do they have now?
Not long really. So Blackberry have launched Blackberry 10 OS as the replacement for BB7. The issue is that in 2013 the majority of sales was BB7 devices that they had in channel. In 2014 the majority was newly sold in BB10 devices. However the number of new BB10 devices being sold in is very very low with around just ~5m. BB7 accounts for ~3m at the moment and in 2015 that number is going to drop even lower. Probably less than 1m. So BB10 isn't growing at all to fill the gap left by declining BB7 shipments and that's a very dangerous thing as it means Blackberry shipments are once again set to decline year on year.

They hold less than 0.5% market share..... not great.

Interesting stuff. Thank you for taking the time to write to this ZhugeEX.
Thanks for your comment :)
 

ZhugeEX

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Also interesting how weak Japanese companies in this market. Do Japanese companies other than Sony even bring their phones overseas?
They used to.... Companies like Sony, NEC, Fujitsu and Sharp used to be quite big in the global market a number of years ago (even in the top 10). But most of them now just focus on the domestic market and don't really ship outside of Japan.

Companies like Sony are one of the only ones shipping in big numbers outside of Japan. I think Kyocera also has small presence outside of Japan. Mostly in the USA.
 

MercuryLS

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is anyone making top money besides Apple though ?
Samsung, but their margins/profit share are getting squeezed. I feel bad for Android OEM's as it's going to become increasingly harder to make money off hardware in that ecosystem. There's just too much competition from competent companies with low cost structures driving prices lower and lower. I've got a Oneplus One and it's every bit as good as the majority of high end phones for less than half the price. There's going to be more and more phones like that driving the Android ASP's down. That worries me because you'll start to see some big OEM's leaving the market and there won't be enough profit for the other companies to really re-invest in R&D.

Apple's going to come to own almost all the profit share in this market, it's going to be low single digit margins for everyone else (including Samsung) over the long term.
 

ZhugeEX

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is anyone making top money besides Apple though ?
Mercury has a great answer for this.
At the end of the day they're all making money, but it's the margin that matters and so far Apple are in another league.

With increased competition the ASP will be pushed down and that's great for consumers as it'll not only make smartphones more affordable but encourage smartphone manufacturers to innovate. This could affect some manufacturers though and we could see them exit the market, I'd say Blackberry is the only one at the moment that can potentially exit the market at the moment. But this is such a fast paced industry that anything can happen tbh.

Samsung, but their margins/profit share are getting squeezed. I feel bad for Android OEM's as it's going to become increasingly harder to make money off hardware in that ecosystem. There's just too much competition from competent companies with low cost structures driving prices lower and lower. I've got a Oneplus One and it's every bit as good as the majority of high end phones for less than half the price. There's going to be more and more phones like that driving the Android ASP's down. That worries me because you'll start to see some big OEM's leaving the market and there won't be enough profit for the other companies to really re-invest in R&D.

Apple's going to come to own almost all the profit share in this market, it's going to be low single digit margins for everyone else (including Samsung) over the long term.
 

Cheebo

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Also interesting how weak Japanese companies in this market. Do Japanese companies other than Sony even bring their phones overseas?
Japan is very far behind in tech period. Not just smartphones. The time of when people bought Japanese electronics is pretty much long gone. It's all Apple and Korea/China now.
 

Don't Laugh

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Japan is very far behind in tech period. Not just smartphones. The time of when people bought Japanese electronics is pretty much long gone. It's all Apple and Korea/China now.
ah, i remember the time when japanese mobile phones were lightyears ahead of the shit that the west got

then the iphone happened, and the rest is history
 

MercuryLS

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Mercury has a great answer for this.
At the end of the day they're all making money, but it's the margin that matters and so far Apple are in another league.

With increased competition the ASP will be pushed down and that's great for consumers as it'll not only make smartphones more affordable but encourage smartphone manufacturers to innovate. This could affect some manufacturers though and we could see them exit the market, I'd say Blackberry is the only one at the moment that can potentially exit the market at the moment. But this is such a fast paced industry that anything can happen tbh.
Yeah, I don't think anyone is going to leave the market soon but the increase in margins pressure is going to hurt companies is high cost structures (Sony, HTC, Samsung, etc). Right now most companies are close to break even or losing money, Samsung has decent margins but they seem to be declining as their high end sales slow and the low end stays steady (with low margins). 2015 is going to be the year where every big OEM is going to have to come out with their big guns to take on Apple at the high end, no one can coast on average designed phones (I'm looking at you Samsung with your plasticky Galaxy S series). The only place to make buckets of money in this market is the high end which Apple currently dominates, these Android OEM's need to have compelling high end phones to make real money because the low end phones just aren't going to be very profitable. The biggest issue is that you've got smaller companies making flagship-grade phones at low end phone prices with low single digit margins. How does a huge company like Samsung compete with that? Especially when the design is as good or better? Apple seems to be insulated due to be completely vertically integrated and owning the primary tech in their phones from hardware to software to services. It's much harder for Android OEM's to lock in their users when they can hop between OEM's pretty easily. The Android ecosystem is becoming completely commoditized, especially overseas. It'll happen here too over time but may take more time due to most phones being bought on contact here versus outright (higher ASP's are easier to maintain when the actual cost is hidden in a contract).
 

Pankratous

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So disappointing to see Sony so low when they are easily the best (at least, out of the big / standard companies)
 

MercuryLS

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So disappointing to see Sony so low when they are easily the best (at least, out of the big / standard companies)
Sony makes great handsets but suck at selling them. They should push to be on every carrier and put lots of marketing dollars behind their devices. They make some of the finest phones but you'd never know it due to carrier exclusives and a complete lack of marketing. Meanwhile Samsung makes plasticky phones with tons of bloatwear, they put it on every carrier on the planet and market it to death. There's a reason why they're (unfortunately) synonymous with Android phones in the general public's mind.
 

ZhugeEX

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Yeah, I don't think anyone is going to leave the market soon but the increase in margins pressure is going to hurt companies is high cost structures (Sony, HTC, Samsung, etc). Right now most companies are close to break even or losing money, Samsung has decent margins but they seem to be declining as their high end sales slow and the low end stays steady (with low margins). 2015 is going to be the year where every big OEM is going to have to come out with their big guns to take on Apple at the high end, no one can coast on average designed phones (I'm looking at you Samsung with your plasticky Galaxy S series). The only place to make buckets of money in this market is the high end which Apple currently dominates, these Android OEM's need to have compelling high end phones to make real money because the low end phones just aren't going to be very profitable. The biggest issue is that you've got smaller companies making flagship-grade phones at low end phone prices with low single digit margins. How does a huge company like Samsung compete with that? Especially when the design is as good or better? Apple seems to be insulated due to be completely vertically integrated and owning the primary tech in their phones from hardware to software to services. It's much harder for Android OEM's to lock in their users when they can hop between OEM's pretty easily. The Android ecosystem is becoming completely commoditized, especially overseas. It'll happen here too over time but may take more time due to most phones being bought on contact here versus outright (higher ASP's are easier to maintain when the actual cost is hidden in a contract).
Agree with you 100%.

Especially about the smartphone ecosystem become commoditized. Apple of course in another league to everyone else.

Sony may be looking to sell their smartphone business but I'd say that it's unlikely they'll do it right now.
 
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So disappointing to see Sony so low when they are easily the best (at least, out of the big / standard companies)
Sony apparently is incapable of entering the US market and at this point they probably never will. They had a chance a few years ago to make a splash. Now they are too far gone.
 

injurai

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Make the jump. It's glorious. You'll question why on earth you ever waited so long.

Pick the Xperia Z3
verizon doesn't give me many great choices... i could make the switch whenever but It's hard to motivate myself to take the leap

I'm a computer science major you'd think It would be beneficial for me to play around with one.
 

SirMossyBloke

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So disappointing to see Sony so low when they are easily the best (at least, out of the big / standard companies)
Completely disagree.

Extremely uninteresting design (hey let's make a rectangular phone and then just stop), their OS design is very behind the times and they don't have anything that sets them apart from other phones except being waterproof.

They've only got themselves to blame.
 

Diablos

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Comparison time:
Number of smartphones sold in 2014: 1301m
Number of PC’s sold in 2014: 316m
Number of tablets sold in 2014: 230m
I find this to be quite a surprise. I would have thought tablets drowned out PC sales. Do you factor in people like myself who build their own PC's? I doubt it, but I am just curious as the number is, to me, pretty high considering it is 2015.
 

Corsick

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My next phone will most likely be an LG 4, HTC m9 or max 2, or a xaomi note pro assuming they ever come to the west. I was really impressed by those 3 companies in regards to either price, build quality or display quality. I'm also looking for a phablet so they all fill that need. Cool metrics there, thanks.
 

killer rin

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Wow, I was totally expecting HTC to be somewhere in the top 10. I was under the impression they sold better than Sony... guess not. On the Microsoft Front. I do hope they can figure out how to gain ground in North America. Everywhere else its marketshare sits at the 8-15% Range... though Carriers controlling everything and the prevalence of contracts doesn't do them any favors.
 

ZhugeEX

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I find this to be quite a surprise. I would have thought tablets drowned out PC sales. Do you factor in people like myself who build their own PC's? I doubt it, but I am just curious as the number is, to me, pretty high considering it is 2015.
The PC market has always been larger than the tablet market. And the tablet market isn't set to overtake the PC market any time soon.

The PC number is very accurate (comes from IDC) and includes Desktops, Portables, Ultraslim Notebooks, Workstations and is shipments from OEM's and Vendors to distribution centres and end users.

Wow, I was totally expecting HTC to be somewhere in the top 10. I was under the impression they sold better than Sony... guess not. On the Microsoft Front. I do hope they can figure out how to gain ground in North America. Everywhere else its marketshare sits at the 8-15% Range... though Carriers controlling everything and the prevalence of contracts doesn't do them any favors.
They were... at one point. Now however HTC have been on a decline for a while.

2010- 24.6m
2011- 44.6m
2012- 32.5m
2013- 22.6m
2014- less than 20m
 

Durante

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Very interesting, thanks for collecting this data. It's illuminating to see all the consumer electronics markets lined up like that.

Yeah, I don't think anyone is going to leave the market soon but the increase in margins pressure is going to hurt companies is high cost structures (Sony, HTC, Samsung, etc). Right now most companies are close to break even or losing money, Samsung has decent margins but they seem to be declining as their high end sales slow and the low end stays steady (with low margins). 2015 is going to be the year where every big OEM is going to have to come out with their big guns to take on Apple at the high end, no one can coast on average designed phones (I'm looking at you Samsung with your plasticky Galaxy S series). The only place to make buckets of money in this market is the high end which Apple currently dominates, these Android OEM's need to have compelling high end phones to make real money because the low end phones just aren't going to be very profitable. The biggest issue is that you've got smaller companies making flagship-grade phones at low end phone prices with low single digit margins. How does a huge company like Samsung compete with that? Especially when the design is as good or better? Apple seems to be insulated due to be completely vertically integrated and owning the primary tech in their phones from hardware to software to services. It's much harder for Android OEM's to lock in their users when they can hop between OEM's pretty easily. The Android ecosystem is becoming completely commoditized, especially overseas. It'll happen here too over time but may take more time due to most phones being bought on contact here versus outright (higher ASP's are easier to maintain when the actual cost is hidden in a contract).
Sounds like a wonderful future ahead for smartphone consumers. (I just wish more manufacturers - currently it's really just Sony -- made smaller high-end phones)
 

justjohn

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I love my LG G3 and I hope they do well in the future. After my experience with the Galaxy s3, I'm never touching a Samsung phone ever again and im really enjoying their demise. Hope Apple and the Chinese knock the stuffing out of them. Cunts.

I'm still surprised at how many people are buying the iPhone6plus. It's insanely expensive over here in the UK.
 

maeh2k

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With increased competition the ASP will be pushed down and that's great for consumers as it'll not only make smartphones more affordable but encourage smartphone manufacturers to innovate
Surely didn't work out like that for PCs. Cheaper? Sure. Innovation? Nope. Price trumps everything else and everyone was content putting out low-quality devices supplemented with some bloat ware for extra revenue.
 

jcm

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Thanks for putting this together. That's an astonishing number of devices.
 

Cheebo

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Surely didn't work out like that for PCs. Cheaper? Sure. Innovation? Nope. Price trumps everything else and everyone was content putting out low-quality devices supplemented with some bloat ware for extra revenue.
And the only two major innovations of the past decade in PC came at the high-end. Apple invented the ultrabook with the Macbook Air which got copied by nearly every PC OEM and is the standard. And Microsoft with the convertable/detachable tablet laptop, again at the high-end.

Cheaper means less innovation and more standardization. The only innovation you will see in smartphones is at the high-end, just like with PCs.
 

maeh2k

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Cheaper means less innovation and more standardization. The only innovation you will see in smartphones is at the high-end, just like with PCs.
One advantage phones have in that regard is that there is much more high-end, since carrier contracts 'obfuscate' the actual device prices and people basically have a subscription to expensive phones.
 

ZhugeEX

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Very interesting, thanks for collecting this data. It's illuminating to see all the consumer electronics markets lined up like that.

Sounds like a wonderful future ahead for smartphone consumers. (I just wish more manufacturers - currently it's really just Sony -- made smaller high-end phones)
Certainly will be a good time for consumers. One thing that I see happening is the emergence of a "Super Mid" market. This has already happened in a lot of emerging and developing markets and it's the concept of premium technology packed into a great device at a lower cost than typical high end phones.

Think perhaps Moto G and Nexus 5. They are an excellent price and some may say as good flagship devices. I expect this trend to continue and whilst we will always have the high end and low end, I fully expect the super mid market to grow on a global scale.

I'm still surprised at how many people are buying the iPhone6plus. It's insanely expensive over here in the UK.
Me too. There really isn't just a single explanation other than "It's Apple". Apple have done an excellent job in brand awareness and mind share and when people think smartphones they think iPhone. Brand loyalty has also been key with the overwhelming majority of people upgrading to the 6/6+ being existing iPhone owners.

Surely didn't work out like that for PCs. Cheaper? Sure. Innovation? Nope. Price trumps everything else and everyone was content putting out low-quality devices supplemented with some bloat ware for extra revenue.
The PC market and Smartphone market whilst similar are also massively different. Upgrade cycles for one are very different with most phone users upgrading every 18-24 months. Some now upgrade every 12 months.

As it's such a fierce market with a huge number of manufacturers we are seeing innovation from a number of companies, HTC with their Ultrapixel camera and ZOE, A number of manufacturers with fingerprint scanners or "double tap to unlock", New form factors including swivel cameras etc...

Manufacturers need to give consumers a reason to buy their smartphone over competitors in order to increase revenue, profit and market share. If you're not growing by at least ~20% every year then you're losing market share and whilst market share is not the most important thing it'll certainly affect margin (e.g Samsung). Sony for example have sold the same number of smartphones they sold last year, except now they're losing money.

Crazy thing is that the current smartphone market was practically nothing just over a decade ago.
palm, blackberry, anyone else?
Smartphone growth has been amazing with over 2.2 billion active users. Compare that to 4.2 billion total active mobile phone users and that's more than 50% of the market right there. So plenty of growth opportunity + upgrades from existing customers.

The Mobile phone is the only consumer electronics product that everyone owns.

In terms of Smartphones, here are shipments for previous years.

2014: ~1301m
2013: ~1010m
2012: ~725m
2011: ~495m
2010: ~301m
2009: ~175m
2008: ~145m
2007: ~115m
(2006: ~70m, 2005: ~40m)

Ah yes... 2007! A time when Apple was finding it's footing. Nokia was the largest smartphone manufacturer (A number of Nokia's phones were classed as smart devices), Blackberry still had a market, HTC were rising up the ranks, Sharp were bigger than Sony and Samsung was no where to be seen in the top 5 or even 10 (Samsung were massive in the dumb/feature phone market though).

Symbian was the largest smartphone OS back in 2007 with around ~50% market share.
 
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