The evolution of the mobile communication ecosystem continues to advance in 2015, as the enabling smartphone vendor focus moves beyond what they make (products) towards "what they make possible" (socioeconomic freedom) within the emerging markets.
Affordable smartphones are a key component of the Mobile Internet success story. The leading manufacturers in China are now producing a variety of low-cost, high-value devices that are empowering people around the globe to access the Web for the very first time.
Juniper Research estimates that the number of smartphone shipments reached 338 million in the second quarter (Q2) of 2015 -- representing a year-over-year growth of 16 percent.
The global smartphone market continued to mature this quarter, and the gap between vendor winners and losers grew larger. That being said, the ongoing competition is good news for all consumers.
While the launch of the P8 helped Huawei to nearly 50 percent year-over-year growth, Xiaomi shipped 20.5 million, representing an increase of a third compared to this time last year.
Juniper notes that the key difference between these two Chinese vendors is that Huawei is currently making an effort to expand beyond Asia. Xiaomi is not -- leaving it vulnerable to the slowing of the Chinese market, which is also affecting ZTE.
Samsung shipments have continued to decline, although the company reported a more profitable product mix this quarter. The launch for the S6 and S6 Edge, expected to ship between 60 and 70 million by the end of 2015, was blunted by reports of delays in components.
As a result, Samsung has not been able to ship the volumes it anticipated and will be adjusting the price of the devices to boost sales ahead of new high-end model launches expected in Q3. Granted, there remains some pockets of demand for expensive smartphones around the globe.
Apple has been able to exploit its ongoing relationship with current and new iPhone fans, with 47.5 million unit sales -- fueled by growth in China, with year-over-year revenues for the region increasing 112 percent to over $13 billion.
LG posted 14.1 million shipments, representing a year-over-year decline of just under 3 percent.
Microsoft is steadily increasing shipments in the lead up to Windows 10 for phones, shipping 8.4 million devices -- that's a 12 percent increase over last year.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry's decline continued, with shipments just above the 1 million mark as the release schedule is slashed from 4 phones a year to one or two.