Sony phones at CES 2014 Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Smartphone Shipments Hit Record High in 2015

Samsung and (slumping?) Apple are still 1-2 globally, and Chinese company Huawei appears poised to tuck solidly into third place.

More than 1.4 billion smartphones were shipped around the world last year, a new high for the sector, with Chinese handset makers racking up the biggest gains.

Global smartphone shipments for 2015 jumped a little more than 10% to an unprecedented 1.43 billion, according to preliminary figures released by International Data Corporation in its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung remained the top smartphone maker, shipping 85.6 million units in the final quarter and 324.8 million for the year. Second-place Apple shipped a record-setting 74.8 million iPhones in the quarter and was up slightly more than 20% to 231.5 million units for the year, a day after Apple warned that iPhone sales are set to fall for the first time.

“Apple assured the public that demand for its premium smartphones is still alive and kicking,” IDC’s Anthony Scarsella said, referring to the new figures. “A new record-setting quarter for Apple indicates consumers continued demand for Apple’s latest offerings regarding upgraded hardware and software.”

Samsung faces increasing pressure from Apple in the high-end smartphone market, as well as from Chinese firms such as Xiaomi and Huawei when it comes to mid- or low-priced handsets.

“Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei’s strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand,” IDC’s Melissa Chau said. “While there is a lot of uncertainty around the economic slowdown in China, Huawei is one of the few brands from China that has successfully diversified worldwide.”

Huawei shipped 32.4 million smartphones in the final quarter of 2015, pushing its total for the year to 106.6 million. Huawei became the fourth mobile phone maker ever to ship more than 100 million units in a year, joining Apple, Samsung and Nokia.

“Huawei is poised to be in a good position to hold onto a strong No. 3 over the next year,” Chau said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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