South Korea’s Samsung has remained at the top of the rapidly growing smartphone market in early 2014 as Chinese rivals gained ground, a survey shows.
The overall global smartphone market grew 28.6 per cent from a year ago with 218.8 million units sold, according to the IDC survey.
That was down 2.8 per cent from the fourth quarter, with a seasonal impact on sales.
Samsung had a 30.2 per cent market share, compared with 31.9 per cent a year earlier.
Apple remained the number two global vendor at 15.5 per cent, which was down from 17.1 per cent one year earlier.
Chinese firm Huawei held third place with a 4.7 per cent global share, with year-over-year sales growth of 47 per cent.
Fellow Chinese maker Lenovo saw 63 per cent sales growth and grabbed a share of 4.6 per cent, ahead of South Korean LG’s 4.4 per cent.
IDC expects 19 per cent sales growth in smartphones this year, following the first billion-plus sales year in 2013.
IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said he sees “sustained strong demand, driven by emerging markets, low-cost devices, and the proliferation of 4G networks”.
This suggests “another record-breaking quarter at the end of the year”, he added.
IDC research manager Melissa Chau said the smartphone market is being driven increasingly by China.
“The face of the smartphone market is changing rapidly to reflect the rise of its largest market, China, where a record 40 per cent of the smartphones shipped worldwide in the first quarter were bound to Chinese consumers,” said Chau.
The latest survey did not break down sales by operating system, but suggests that the Google Android system remains dominant, after grabbing roughly 80 per cent of sales in late 2013.
Apple and Samsung are locked in a legal battle in the US and elsewhere, with the US giant accusing its rival of infringing on patents.