The worldwide smartphone market grew 23.1 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14), establishing a new single quarter record of 295.3 million shipments, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).
Following a very strong first quarter, the market grew 2.6 percent sequentially, fueled by ongoing demand for mobile internet access and an abundance of lower-cost smartphones.
Second quarter shipments were in line with IDC's forecast and all expectations are that the market will continue apace in the second half of the year -- surpassing 300 million units for the first time ever in a single quarter in 3Q14.
"A record second quarter proves that the smartphone market still has plenty of opportunity and momentum," said Ryan Reith, program director at IDC.
Despite a challenging quarter for Samsung, and to a lesser extent Apple, the strong market demand boosted results for most smartphone vendors. Emerging markets, supported by local vendors, are continuing to act as the main catalyst for smartphone growth.
Among the top vendors in the market, a wide range of Chinese OEMs more than outpaced the market in 2Q14. By far the most impressive was Huawei, nearly doubling its shipments from a year ago, followed by another strong performance from Lenovo.
Leading Smartphone Vendor Market Share
Samsung saw the Galaxy S5 ship millions of units this quarter, despite the criticisms leveled at it, while S4 and even S3 volumes remained strong as more affordable alternatives. Collectively Samsung lost 7 percent market share compared to a year ago, despite having one of the largest smartphone portfolios of all OEMs. To maintain its position at the top, Samsung will need to focus on building momentum in markets dominated by local brands.
Apple's second quarter is always its seasonal low of the year, but even more so this time in advance of the iPhone 6, with consumers holding their collective breath for the long-awaited bigger screens. Apple enjoyed continued success in the BRIC markets, a good sign that it is building its footprint in emerging markets. Given the pent-up demand, the third quarter could be a drought or a flood, depending on the timing of the next launch.