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Smartphones to grow beyond Samsung and Apple, IDC says

International Data Corporation (IDC) Asia/Pacific says worldwide smartphone shipments have continued to increase and display a move away from Samsung and Apple.

For the second consecutive quarter, global smartphone shipments were above 300 million units. IDC says this is primarily comes down to new smartphone releases and a larger focus on emerging markets.

According to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in the third quarter vendors shipped out a total of 327.6 million units.

This was a 25.2 percent increase compared to the same time last year, when 261.7 million units were shipped out. In the second quarter of 2014, 301.3 million units were shipped, meaning there has been a sequential growth of 8.7 percent.

"Despite rumours of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes," says Ryan Reith, Program Director, IDC 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,” he says.

Reith says it was once expected feature phones would remain dominant, but the low price of smartphones makes mobile computing more accessible.

For instance, LG released a range of low-cost smartphones and this pushed the total volumes past the 15 million unit mark for the first time in the history of the company.

“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," Reith says.

However, it was the three vendors behind Samsung and Apple that spurred the growth, according to IDC. Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG Electronics were each a driving force behind the record smartphone volume.

Each one had notably different strategies when compared to Samsung and Apple, says Ramon Llamas, Research Manager, ICD Mobile Phone team.

“This shows that there is still room to compete in this market,” he says. “Whether it be in the low end as Lenovo has done, at the high end where Xiaomi competes, or in both as LG Electronics has shown.”

“Beyond the top five, there are a number of other vendors achieving similar results,” he says.