Samsung’s Galaxy series was deemed the most popular mobile phone in 2013, while Apple's iPhone numbers were surprisingly unimpressive.
According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, global mobile-phone shipments reached a record 1.7 billion units last year. Samsung (fueled by the company’s popular Galaxy phones) and LG led the pack. TCL-Alcatel broke into the top five for the first time, while Nokia and Apple struggled to maintain their numbers. Overall, shipments of mobile phones saw the best numbers in two years.
In the number-one spot, Samsung shipped 451.7 million mobile phones to gain 27% market share. By comparison, LG captured 4% share and shipped 71.0 million phones to secure fourth place. LG was boosted by Europe’s interest in its Optimus range of Android models. TCL-Alcatel, based in China, grew 48% by shipping 18.3 million units. That success was attributed to a portfolio of low-cost smartphones and feature phones, which are gaining popularity in Latin America and Europe.
Nokia’s global shipments fell 25% from 335.6 million units in 2012 to 252.4 million in 2013. The company is facing tough competition from Samsung in developing markets like India. Nokia’s Windows Phones have been performing relatively well, but not enough to offset the weak demand for the company’s Asha models and other feature phones. Interestingly, Apple’s growth rate fell from 46% to 13% in 2013 even though shipments increased from 135.8 to 153.4 million. Strategy Analytics attributes this drop to a lack of presence in the low-end smartphone and big-phablet segments.
To provide background on these numbers, another market-research firm—the International Data Corp. (IDC)—recently reported that the smartphones submarket shipped one billion units in a single year for the first time in 2013. That market accounted for 55.1% of all mobile-phone shipments for the year. By comparison, 725.3 million units were shipped in 2012. IDC also noted that affordable smartphones and large-screen models performed best.