Global smartphone shipments surpass 300 million units: IDC

For the second consecutive quarter, global smartphone shipments have reached above 300 million units, driven by growing competition between Samsung and Apple, and the combined efforts of Xiaomi, LG, and Lenovo.

Worldwide smartphone shipments have increased by 25.2 percent in the third quarter, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker has recorded that global smartphone shipments reached a total of 327.6 million during 3Q14, from 261.7 million in 3Q13. This is the second consecutive quarter that shipments have reached above 300 million units. During 2Q14, smartphone shipments reached 301.3 million units.

The vendor that dominated shipment volumes during 3Q14 was Samsung, with 78.1 percent. However, by comparison to shipment volumes during the same period last year, Samsung's shipment volume dropped by 8.2 percent, from 85 percent. It was the only company among the top five to see shipment volume decline year over year. These results were reflected in Samsung's 3Q14 sales results , where net profit plunged 49 percent to 6.25 trillion won from 8.24 trillion won, which was reported during the same period last year.

The market also saw Apple launch its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This partially drove a 16.1 percent year-over-year increase in shipment volumes to 39.3 percent for the quarter. In fact, Apple announced that it sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus during the first weekend that the devices went on sale. However, IDC noted that sustained demand for Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c models compromised the bulk of its volume for the quarter.

The biggest change seen during the quarter was when Xiaomi jumped into the top five list for the first time, taking up the number three position. The report suggested that the company's focus on China and adjacent markets, as well as the launch of its Mi4 smartphone in August, drove the company's triple-digit year-over-year growth in shipment volumes during 3Q14. In fact, shipment volumes increased by 211.3 percent to 17.3 percent from 5.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the report showed that Lenovo and LG were tied in fourth place, with each vendor pushing unit volumes out to emerging and developed markets.

"Despite rumours of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes," said Ryan Reith, program director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"We've finally reached a point where most developed markets are experiencing single-digit growth, while emerging markets are still growing at more than 30 percent collectively.

"In these markets, smartphone price points are making mobile computing possible, where we once expected feature phones to remain dominant. This is great news for overall volumes, but the challenge has now become how to make money on devices that are quickly becoming commodity products. Outside of Apple, many are struggling to do this."