Xiaomi Redmi. Source: Xiaomi.
This morning, market researcher Kantar Worldpanel ComTech
released its latest estimates on the smartphone market.
Android remains, by far, the dominant smartphone platform in
numerous key markets such as the U.S., Europe, and China.
Samsung has been instrumental in Android's global rise in
recent years, as the South Korean conglomerate rose through the
ranks to become the top smartphone vendor by unit volumes.
However, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's figures show that low-cost
Chinese manufacturers are now driving Android growth.
Specifically, Xiaomi, Huawei, and Wiko are making names for
themselves in the low-end, particularly in the important Chinese
The newest up-and-comer
Xiaomi grabbed 27% of smartphone sales during the second quarter
within urban China. The company's RedMi, a 4.7-inch phone with a
Snapdragon processor and support for dual SIM cards, is winning
customers over to the brand.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech strategic insight director Dominic
Sunnebo notes that Chinese consumers show a greater propensity to
switch between brands compared to other markets, so there
generally isn't much brand loyalty. The researcher's figures
suggest that 12% of Samsung customers are interested in switching
to Xiaomi for their next smartphone upgrade. Samsung currently
has a 21.1% market share in urban China, lower than Xiaomi's.
What about Apple?
is also seeing its market share in markets like China get hurt.
Kantar estimates that Apple's share in urban China fell from
24.7% to 12.8% during the past year. That doesn't quite add up
with Apple's own statements when it released earnings last week.
CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple's performance in China was even
"surprising" to management, as iPhone unit shipments grew 48%,
and easily outpaced the market's 24% growth.
It's possible that semantic distinctions are the cause of the
discrepancy. Kantar measures share in "urban China," while Apple
looks at "Greater China," which includes mainland China, Hong
Kong, and Taiwan.
In an interview with
, CFO Luca Maestri said that low-cost vendors are primarily
taking share away from other Android manufacturers instead of
Apple. The iPhone maker remains very bullish on its recent
, with Maestri saying that Apple has "a really good runway"
A second opinion
Yesterday, IDC also put out its own estimates on the state of the
smartphone market, and the researcher's findings largely echo
Kantar's. Global unit volumes hit a new quarterly record of 295.3
million units, with low-cost smartphones driving unit
IDC notes that Samsung had a challenging quarter, which
Samsung itself admitted in its
. Several Chinese handset manufacturers outpaced the broader
market, particularly Huawei and Lenovo. Huawei nearly doubled
unit shipments to 20.3 million during the quarter, and is
currently the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Huawei is benefiting from China's transition from 3G to 4G, as
wireless carriers recently launched 4G LTE networks, and are
Samsung remains the largest manufacturer by volume, but the
company lost 7% market share to low-cost competitors. This is
largely what Samsung warned shareholders about earlier this month
when it said its low-end and mid-range channel inventories were
swelling "as competition intensified among set makers in Chinese
and European markets."
More from The Motley Fool:
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originally appeared on Fool.com.
Evan Niu, CFA
owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends
Apple, China Mobile, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares).
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