Digitimes’ Alex Wolfgram notes that the smartphone market passed an important milestone in 2013 when worldwide shipments surpassed the one billion mark for the first time, driven by continued momentum from Android and iOS. he cites market research firm IDC metrics showing Android and iOS accounted for 95.7% of all smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, and for 93.8% of all smartphone shipments for 2014. That represents a 4.5-point increase from the 91.2% share that the two platforms shared in the fourth quarter of 2012, and a 6.1-point increase from the 87.7% share they had in 2012.
“Clearly, there was strong end-user demand for both Android and iOS products during the quarter and the year,” commented IDC researcher Ramon Llamas. “What stands out are the different routes Android and Apple took to meet this demand. Android relied on its long list of OEM partners, a broad and deep collection of devices, and price points that appealed to nearly every market segment. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, relied on nearly the opposite approach: a limited selection of Apple-only devices, whose prices trended higher than most. Despite these differences, both platforms found a warm reception to their respective user experiences and selection of mobile applications.”
While smartphone market growth remained strong in 2013, Wolfgram says it should be noted that the era of double-digit annual growth has only a few years remaining. In the meantime, handset vendors are doing all they can to capture demand while it is still present. Worldwide smartphone marketing campaigns continue to stay focused on flagship devices like the iPhone 5S, Galaxy Note 3, and the HTC One, yet research shows that consumer buying is rapidly shifting toward products with significantly lower price points, said IDC.
“In 2013 we saw the sub-$200 smartphone market grow to 42.6% of global volume, or 430 million units,” says IDC analyst Ryan Reith. “While the market moves downstream to cheaper products it makes sense for Samsung and others to continue their marketing investments geared toward high-end products. These efforts build crucial brand perception while having less expensive alternatives that closely relate to these top products helps to close the deal. Samsung has done exactly this with the ‘Galaxy’ line. The family name is associated with Samsung’s high-end products, yet there are ‘Galaxy’ variants offered by Samsung at much lower price points than the Note 3 and S4. This has been an important factor in how Samsung has sustained its market lead.”