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In Sign of Maturing Smartphone Market, Q1 Sales Expected to Drop From Previous Quarter

Apple and Samsung continue to dominate; LG and Sony posted impressive gains.


For two years now the global smartphone market has continued to be bigger each quarter than it was the last.

In a sign that the market is now starting to mature, though, analysts at TrendForce project that sales from January through March will be about five percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2013. That would be the first time sales would have dropped sequentially since 2011.

TrendForce analyst Wilson Miao said that it shows the smartphone market is growing up and now exhibits signs of seasonality.

As for market share, it’s no surprise that Apple and Samsung continue to dominate. Worth noting, though, is improved performance at LG and Sony, two large players that had been struggling until recently.

TrendForce notes that Sony has done particularly well in Japan (echoing a point made recently by Sony CEO Kaz Hirai.) Its share in Japan has topped 20 percent and its global share in the third quarter rose to about five percent. In the fourth quarter, Sony shopped 12 million phones globally, up 62 percent from the prior year.

LG, meanwhile, used its partnership producing Nexus phones for Google to help grow its share to 4.2 percent globally. In the fourth quarter it shipped approximately 11 million smartphones, a 57 percent year-over-year rise.

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