The world got smarter
The world bought 1.2 billion smartphones in 2014 as the number of units sold globally in the fourth-quarter totalled 346 million, up 19% on the same period in 2013. In value terms, $115 billion was spent on smartphones in the final three months of 2014 alone, a 20% spike year-on-year, according to GfK.
China was the biggest market - during the final quarter unit sales were flat, but sales value increased by a strong 21% to $28 billion. “The increase in the value of units sold in China, despite the recent plateau-ing of unit sales, is due to consumers’ rapid adoption of higher -priced smartphones with larger screen sizes,” says Kevin Walsh, GfK’s director of trends and forecasting.
Upstart Chinese device maker Xiaomi led China's smartphone market last year with a 12.5% share of shipments, ahead of giant Samsung on 12.1%. Xiaomi's market share increased 186% over the course of 2014, while Samsung's declined 22%, and the company has been successful in leaning heavily on flash sales to create buzz around its devices at low cost.