LG is slowly building momentum for its smartphones, but the market still belongs to Samsung and Apple.
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LG posted significant growth in smartphone shipments during the first quarter of the year, though the market retracted a bit following the holidays. Smartphone makers shipped 281.5 million handsets worldwide, a drop from the previous quarter (see chart below), but up from the year-ago quarter, according to IDC. Smartphones accounted for 62.7% of the 448.6 million devices shipped between January 1 and March 31.
LG saw its smartphone shipments increase 19.4% year-over-year from 10.3 million to 12.3 million units. IDC attributes LG's success on strong demand for the LG G2, Nexus 5, and the curved G Flex smartphone. LG hopes to take advantage of its growth heading into the summer months with the debut of its next-generation flagship smartphone, the G3. LG has invited media to an event scheduled on May 27 that will take place simultaneously in London, New York, and San Francisco. LG's newest device will go head-to-head with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S5, though it will arrive several months behind its competitors. Despite LG's positive direction, it has a long way to go before catching market leaders Apple and Samsung. LG owns just 4.4% of the smartphone market and 3.6% of the cellphone market.
Samsung is both the number one smartphone vendor and number one cellphone vendor worldwide. Samsung shipped 85 million smartphones during the first quarter and 108.9 million handsets overall. Samsung owns 30.2% of the global smartphone market and 24.3% of the wider global cellphone market. The company is a juggernaut and it continues to churn out hits, such as the Galaxy S5.
It's no surprise to find Apple in the number two position in terms of smartphone shipments. It posted stronger-than-expected results during the first quarter with 43.7 million iPhones shipped. Apple owns 15.5% of the smartphone market, but only 9.7% of the cell phone market.
Huawei and Lenovo are running neck-and-neck in the smartphone market, with shipments of 13.7 million and 12.9 million, respectively. Huawei holds 4.9% of the smartphone market, while Lenovo holds 4.6%. Huawei also holds 3.2% of the global cell phone market. IDC did not publish Lenovo's share.
Nokia is still the world's number two maker of cellphones, but it doesn't show up on the IDC's top five list of smartphone makers. Nokia shipped 50.5 million devices worldwide during the first quarter. Other companies not making IDC's top-five list include Acer, Coolpad, BlackBerry, HTC, Motorola, Sony, ZTE, and others.
LG has typically lagged its smartphone competitors, but the G3 (about which we know very little) could help it steal sales from Apple, HTC, and Samsung. IDC believes the smartphone market will continue to grow throughout the year and will be keeping its eye on Apple's performance in China and Nokia's performance in emerging markets with its X-branded Android devices.