According to recent reports, worldwide shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices decreased to 50.4 million units in the first quarter of 2014. That represents a decrease of 35.7 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 3.9 percent in comparison with the same period a year ago. Apple continues to lead the global tablet and 2-in-1 market, shipping 16.4 million devices. Samsung, on the other hand, increased its worldwide share from 17.2 percent in the last quarter of 2013 to 22.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014. While global tablet shipments decreased, the worldwide smartphone market showed a 28.6 percent increase in the first quarter of 2014, year over year. Manufacturers shipped 448.6 million units, up 3.9 percent from the 431.8 million devices shipped in the first quarter of 2013, but down 9 percent from the 492.8 million units shipped in the last quarter of 2013. Samsung shipped an estimated 85 million smartphones, which is 30 percent of the global market share and represents a year-over-year increase of 25 percent. Apple shipped 43.7 million iPhones, constituting 15.5 percent of the worldwide market share, for a year-over-year growth figure of 17 percent. Other major smartphone manufacturers such as Motorola-Lenovo, LG, Huawei and ZTE also maintained their market share and showed overall growth.
Based on the current reports, Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the market. For the last few years we have been following the two tech giants as they competed against each other. Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone was introduced in June 2010 and within about a year its manufacturer became the world’s largest smartphone seller. In 2013 Samsung shipped more than 300 million units of its various models, while Apple sold about 150 million iPhones. While Samsung leads in global smartphone shipments, Apple’s iPads continue to outsell its Korean competitor’s tablets.
When it comes to smartphone popularity and overall usage, the developed markets offer very limited opportunities for growth, as smartphone penetration is already high there. Emerging markets, on the other hand, are trying to eliminate feature phones and are slowly replacing them with entry-level smartphones. These are the markets that offer growth opportunities for handset manufacturers as mobile devices become more affordable and more essential to all daily activities. Subscribers in the developing world are increasingly using their mobile phones to complete banking transactions, receive daily news updates, check their emails, and fulfill many other vital functions.
Mobile networks continue to expand, so operators and device manufacturers would both benefit from working closely together to develop strategies that would drive tablet sales through attractively priced smartphone bundles. Operators should also continue to create innovative services that are specifically targeted to tablets or smartphones, as well as plans that bundle services for both.
The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues: http://www.tarifica.com/TarificaAlert.aspx