But demand for ever cheaper handsets threatens Apple and Samsung marginsSmartphone shipments topped the one billion mark globally for the first time in 2013, climbing 38.4 per cent from the previous year, latest figures from IDC reveal. It means that smartphones now account for more than half of all mobiles shipped, though the emergence of low cost versions now threatens the profits margins of the two biggest manufacturers – Apple and Samsung. IDC’s figures suggest an even more gloomy future for Apple whose market share fell from 18.7 per cent to 15.3 percent year-on-year, trailing Samsung whose share edged up 1 per cent to 31.3 per cent – making it the world’s biggest smartphone vendor.
It means the pressure is more than ever on Apple, which had the lowest year-on-year increase of all the leading vendors, to come up with more appealing smartphones.
Or to build on sales through partnerships in emerging markets – its recent collaboration with China Mobile being a case in point.
But warns Ryan Reith, mobility research director at IDC, “Cheap devices are the portion of the market that is driving volume.”
He continued, “Markets like China and India are quickly moving toward a point where sub-$150 smartphones are driving the majority of shipments.”
*Footnote: Britain’s Carphone Warehouse has forged a deal with electronics giant Samsung to showcase more than 60 ‘stand alone’ stores across Europe, including the UK. It follows successful trials at three of Carphone’s stores in Spain – selling a full range of Samsung mobiles, tablets, laptops and wearables. The deal also means that Carphone will now act as Samsung’s preferred partner across Europe, operating the majority of dedicated stores on behalf of the South Korean phone maker.