Chinese smartphone manufacturers made it big in 2014, with shipments almost tripling in the first half of the year. While that comes as no surprise to anyone, an IDC report indicates that it was Lenovo who gained the most during this period; with both Xiaomi and Oppo following closely.
Non-Chinese manufacturers like Samsung and Apple suffered at the influx of the numerous Chinese brands, although there has been an upward trend for the Chinese made devices since early 2013. The most surprising change happening in late 2014 where the shipments of non-Chinese smartphones cut by more than half. IDC attributes this to the increased competition coming from the mid-range Chinese products, although it could also represent fewer people going out to buy new phones. This is evident from the tiny increase in Chinese smartphone shipments during the same period.
The Malaysian market has traditionally been very strong for smartphones, but it appears that is about to change in the coming 2015. It looks like more reasonably priced smartphones like those brought in by the Chinese manufacturers will continue to chip away at Samsung and Apple’s market shares, which indicates a shift in consumer preference; especially when flagship smartphones are now in a period of incremental upgrades instead of substantial changes. Smaller improvements at the top and more high-tech features trickling down makes these mid-range models far more attractive.
What is certain is that the vendors who want to remain competitive will have to change gears and improve on their strategies. Ideally, this would mean falling smartphone prices across the board; but who knows what the manufacturers come up with next year.