Global Smartphone Shipments to Reach 322 Million in 3Q14; iPhone to Drive 4G in China

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Smartphone shipments are expected to reach 322 million in the third quarter of 2014, up 13% on quarter, and see flat shipment growth on year in the fourth quarter, while overall shipments in 2014 will reach 1.2 billion, up 29.2% on year, according to market intelligence firm TrendForce. Growth will be driven primarily by the release of the new iPhone and new units launched from Chinese vendors.

A larger iPhone screen will bring a new wave of demand in China

The new iPhone is reserved to be published on 9th September. According to a recent survey conducted by Avanti, a TrendForce subsidiary , 67% of respondents who were asked about iPhone responded they were looking forward to the device coming equipped with a larger screen primarily for larger viewing and more qualitative reading experience, while 38% responded they had a strong interest in purchasing the new device. Approximately 21% of Chinese consumers were reported as currently waiting for the new iPhone to hit the market. Avanti believes that in a 370 million handset market throughout 2013, the new iPhone will have a great potential to see major sales in the China market, provided that it has a larger screen.

TrendForce smartphone analyst, Avril Wu, said there will be increased demand for the new iPhone in the market but shipments will largely depend on whether key supply chain makers maintain stable yields in production and assembly while avoiding bottlenecks. TrendForce predicts a total shipments of 75 million or less for the new 4.7" and 5.5" iPhone, with only 20% occupied by 5.5" due to its higher difficulty of production.

Samsung, LG to launch new units combatting iPhone; Chinese vendors maintain strong shipments

Samsung Electronics is coming full throttle into the market with the release of its new Galaxy Note 4 but will face challenges due to iPhone's larger screen. TrendForce believes the iPhone will influence Samsung's market share from 33% at the beginning of 2014, to 28% in the third quarter, which also means it is unlikely for Samsung to reach its goal of 350 million in handset shipments during 2014.

LG Electronics, meanwhile, saw better-than-expected shipments during the first half of 2014, particularly in the South Korea market. The company will release its G3 Stylus in September, which is expected to help push its market share up to 6.2% in the third quarter. HTC, on the other hand, will see major declines, with shipments reaching less than 20 million in 2014 -- even less than half of China-based Xiaomi.

Chinese vendors including Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad and ZTE are all growing rapidly and are expected to see over 30 million in shipments during 2014. Lenovo in conjunction with its merged company Motorola will see shipments reach 90 million to become China's largest vendor while Huawei will see shipments over 65 million to hold the number 2 spot. Xiaomi and Coolpad will see nearly 60 million smartphones shipped.

Due to the substantial expenditure to expand 4G TF-LTE, carriers have less ability to carry contracted 4G handsets subsidy, causing the shipments of 4G units to further slow down within China area, added by Wu. The China market is very optimistic about the release of the new iPhone equipped with 4G, which means that 4G services will be pushed further into the market through the release and vendors will follow the trend by launching more 4G units once the technology is mature in China. The penetration rate of 4G in China is foreseen to rise positively from 24.6% to 67%.

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