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Smartphone shipments surge in Q3 as Apple falls further behind

Smartphone Shipments Q3 2013

Smartphone shipments surged to a record high in the third quarter, but Apple continued to lose ground as lower-cost devices proliferate in emerging markets. Research firm Strategy Analytics on Monday evening issued its smartphone figures for the third quarter, suggesting that total global shipments jumped 45% annually in Q3 to a record 251 million units, topping a quarter-billion for the first time ever. That monstrous figure was driven largely by Samsung, which shipped an estimated 88.4 million smartphones, up from 56.9 million units in the third quarter last year, to capture a record 35% of the global market. According to Strategy Analytics’ numbers, Samsung now ships nearly 1 million smartphones each day.

Apple, which Strategy Analytics still measures by end-user sales while other companies are measured by channel sales, posted its September quarter results on Monday afternoon and stated that it sold 33.8 million iPhones. While that impressive figure represents 26% growth over the same quarter last year, 45% overall growth means Apple fell further behind Samsung where global market share is concerned. As a result, Apple’s market share dropped to 13% from 16% in the year-ago quarter.

Huawei smartphone shipments topped LG shipments in the third quarter, allowing the Chinese vendor to jump into the No. 3 spot. The company shipped 12.7 million smartphones last quarter compared to 7.6 million smartphones in the same quarter last year, while LG smartphone shipments grew to 12 million from 7 million in Q3 2012.

Lenovo shipped 10.8 million smartphones in the third quarter to capture the No. 5 position and 4% of the global smartphone market. HTC fell into the “other” category just as it did in the second quarter and was not among the top-5 global smartphone vendors.

And once again, Samsung shipped more smartphones in the third quarter than all of its top rivals combined.

“Global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012 to 251.4 million in Q3 2013,” Strategy Analytics analyst Linda Sui said. “This was the first time ever that smartphone shipments exceeded a quarter-billion units in a single quarter. Smartphones accounted for 6 in 10 of all mobile phones shipped worldwide. The smartphone industry’s robust growth is being driven by strong demand for LTE models in developed regions like the US and 3G devices in emerging markets such as China.”

Her colleague Neil Mawston added, “Samsung grew 55 percent annually and shipped a record 88.4 million smartphones worldwide, capturing a record 35 percent marketshare in Q3 2013. Samsung shipped over two times more smartphones than Apple during the quarter. While shipments of the flagship Galaxy S4 model softened, solid demand for the new Note 3 phablet and for mass-market devices like the Galaxy Y helped to lift Samsung’s volumes. Apple shipped 33.8 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2013, up from 26.9 million a year earlier. Apple grew just 26 percent annually during Q3 2013, which is around half the overall smartphone industry average of 45 percent. Apple’s global smartphone marketshare has dipped noticeably from 16 percent to 13 percent during the past year. Nonetheless, we expect Apple to rebound sharply and regain share in the upcoming fourth quarter of 2013 due to high demand for its new iPhone 5s model.”

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.