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Report: Smartphone Shipments Set To Top 300 Million in Third Quarter

Smartphone shipments reached a single-quarter high in the second quarter of 2014 with 295.3 million shipments, an increase of 23.1 percent over the same period in 2013, according to a new report from International Data Corp. (IDC).

"Following a very strong first quarter, the market grew 2.6 percent sequentially, fueled by ongoing demand for mobile computing and an abundance of low-cost smartphones," according to a news release. "Second quarter shipments were in line with IDC's forecast and all expectations are that the market will continue apace in the second half of the year and surpassing 300 million units for the first time ever in a single quarter in" in the third quarter of 2014.

Samsung maintained its position as the market leader with a 25.2 percent share for the quarter, though it was also the only manufacturer in the top five to lose market share, with a 7 percent slide, compared to the same period last year. It also saw shipments drop from 77.3 million in 2013's second quarter to 74.3 million this year. "To maintain its position at the top," according to information released by IDC, "Samsung will need to focus on building momentum in markets dominated by local brands."

Apple held on to second place, also despite losing market share, on the strength of 35.1 million units sold. That's an improvement from 31.2  million units in last year's second quarter. Despite the increase in units shipped, the company's market dropped from 13 percent to 11.9 percent year over year.

Apple's second quarter is always its seasonal low of the year," according to a news release, "but even more so this time in advance of the iPhone 6, with consumers holding their collective breath for the long-awaited bigger screens. Apple enjoyed continued success in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets, a good sign that it is building its footprint in emerging markets. Given the pent-up demand, the third quarter could be a drought or a flood, depending on the timing of the next launch."

Huawei moved into third place as it nearly doubled the number of units sold from 10.4 million in the second quarter of 2013 to 20.3 million units in the most recent period. Correspondingly, the company's market share improved from 4.3 percent to 6.9 percent.

Much of that growth can be chalked up to China's three national carriers subsidizing smartphones as they encourage consumers to upgrade to 4G LTE handsets, according to IDC.

Lenovo held on to the fourth spot with 15.8 million shipments and a 5.4 percent market share.

LG dropped from third place to fifth despite remaining relatively stable in market share, dropping from 5 percent in last year's second quarter to 4.9 percent in the most recent quarter. Its shipments improved from 12.1 million units to 14.5 million devices sold, year over year.

Vendors outside the top five sold 135.3 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2014, improving their combined market share from 40.6 percent to 45.8 percent.

"A record second quarter proves that the smartphone market has plenty of opportunity and momentum," said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in a prepared satement. "Right now we have more than a dozen vendors that are capable of landing in the top 5 next quarter. A handful of these companies are currently operating in a single country, but no one should mistake that for complacency — they all recognize the opportunity that lies outside their home turf."

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