Smartphone Shipments Hit Record 1.4 Billion Units During 2015

Look around at any given time and you're likely to see multiple people actively using a smartphone. They're everywhere these days, and in the fourth quarter of 2015, hundreds of millions of more smartphone devices infiltrated the market—404.5 million to be exact, up 6 percent annually from 380.1 million units shipped in Q4 of 2014, according to Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Services.

Now here's where things get weird. Looking at the period from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015, the smartphone industry saw its slowest growth rate of all time, which Strategy Analytics blamed on increased penetration in major markets like China and consumer concern about the economy. But for the full year, global smartphone shipments for all of 2015 totaled a record 1.44 billion handsets, up a healthy 12 percent from 1.28 billion in 2014.

Samsung and Apple Phones

Samsung benefited the most from the record year and ended 2015 on a high note, shipping 81.3 million smartphones in the fourth quarter. That's an annual bump of 9 percent from 74.5 million units in the same quarter a year prior, and more importantly for the struggling firm, the fastest growth rate for almost two years.

That's good news for D.J. Koh, Samsung's new mobile boss who replaced J.K. Shin after a series of missteps, including his failure to properly anticipate the demand for Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge devices. For whatever reason, Samsung seems to be on an upswing in the smartphone sector, and that should make things a little easier for Koh.

The bump in shipments also helped Samsung keep its market share lead over Apple, at least for now. Samsung now claims a 22.2 percent of the global smartphone market, ahead of Apple at 16.1 percent, but down from 2014 when Samsung held a 24.7 percent share.

Tags:  Mobile, smartphones
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