Smartphone sales: Samsung’s fell, Apple’s grew, Xiaomi’s exploded

December 16, 2014, 1:09 PM UTC

The real action in the July to September quarter, according to Gartner’s latest report, was in developing markets.

With the price differential between dumb phones and smart rapidly shrinking, whole populations seem to be trading up. Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa recorded their highest growths ever in Q3, according to Gartner, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50% year-over-year.

So although Samsung and Apple are still the biggest single vendors, with Xiaomi coming on strong, the quarter goes to “others,” which now accounts for 38% of total mobile phone sales and 47.5% of smartphones.

Within three years, Gartner’s Roberta Cozza predicts, nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.

What Gartner’s report had to say about the three most closely watched companies:

Samsung: Sales of Samsung’s feature phones and smartphones declined in the third quarter of 2014, and Samsung lost market share in both markets. Samsung’s deepest decline came from feature phones, which decreased by 10.8 percent year-over-year. Demand for Samsung’s smartphones weakened mostly in Western Europe and Asia. Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 28.6 percent in China, the biggest market for Samsung.
Sales of iPhones grew 26 percent in the third quarter of 2014. With the introduction of two large-screen phones for the first time, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple managed to neutralize the advantage of Android competitors. Gartner expects Apple to experience its biggest ever fourth-quarter sales, with both of its large-screen phones seeing demand exceed supply since their launch.
Xiaomi: Xiaomi made its debut among the top-five smarpthone vendors. It experienced the highest growth of the quarter, with an increase of 336 percent driven by strong performance in China where it became market leader.

Below: Gartner’s smartphone spreadsheet.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 7.35.30 AM

Click to enlarge.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.