Top 10 smartphone makers in Q1 2015: Sony and Microsoft drop out of the picture, Chinese phone makers take over

The smartphone marketplace is such a dynamic place that it is hard to keep track of who's who: just a few years ago, Nokia was at the top, then Samsung went to rule, and these days, it seems that it's Chinese phone makers that are aiming to occupy the top 10 list.

Last year, Apple send shockwaves through the industry with record-breaking sales of its iPhone lineup, and for the first time, it tied with Samsung for the first place. Naturally, this was not meant to last - and it's natural because Apple sells only upper-tier phones, while Samsung offers everything from low- to mid- to high-end devices. In the first quarter of 2015, Samsung is at the top of the listing again with sales of 82.8 million devices, grabbing a 24.3% market share, while Apple's 61.6 million sales grant it the second place with 17.9% of the market in terms of units sold.

The big news following the first quarter of 2015 is that Sony and Microsoft, two of the most renowned brands, have dropped out of the top 10 phone manufacturers, replaced by Chinese phone brands. Actually, excluding Apple, the top 10 list of phone makers now consists of 9 Asian phone makers, and 7 of them are from China. The newcomer this quarter is Vivo, a phone maker that focuses on premium handsets with an affinity for higher-fidelity audio capabilities. 

The stats come from former Nokia executive Tomi Ahonen, who has one of the best track records when it comes to predictions, and here's an interesting speculative tid bit from his latest analysis:

"Obviously we've already seen the market share peak of iPhones and my projection is that the actual market share for full-year 2015 for the iPhone will be down again this year."

It's a speculative radical projection, but given the momentum in iPhone sales, it seems to go against the market logic, so it'd be interesting to keep track of that. What do you think about those charts above: are you surprised to see so many phone makers from China taking over? And do you think that Apple's iPhones have peaked?



1. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

The Chinese are rising... I hope the big guys drop their prices to combat the Chinese manufacturers.

2. romeo1

Posts: 819; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

I hope it 2 but im not sure if they can go as low as the chinese.

4. ninja_master

Posts: 306; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Especially Samsung

14. romeo1

Posts: 819; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

From all the manufacturers samsung has the best chance of getting their prices low. They make their own chips and screens so that could reduce costs

16. ninja_master

Posts: 306; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Sorry,I meant won't not can't :)

22. romeo1

Posts: 819; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

Guess you're right lol

6. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Oh hell they can specially Samsung and more than that Apple they get more profit than the money paid for making each phone. Samsung S6 edge costs 249$ per unit.

13. romeo1

Posts: 819; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

But is that with transportation costs and taxes? Or is it just production costs?

3. MySchizoBuddy

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

Let the race to the bottom start.

20. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Price doesn't matter that much, big guys always bring quality and Chinaphones don't.

24. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

Well, it does, you can't really judge chinese phones without owning one. I previously owned a Xiaomi phone, and I must say they have great price to quality ratio. Would buy again if they weren't that hard to find.

29. chenski

Posts: 774; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

With the rapid progression of tech nowadays, Bang for buck is the most important thing

30. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Not always. A phone prone to wall hugging, bending in your front pocket, or not offering enough RAM to have a truly immersive multi tab browsing experience (without tabs reloading) ain't quality in my book.

5. dlsnhuff

Posts: 111; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

No. The big guys don't wanna drop their prices, because their employees salaries are bigger than those Chinesse OEMs, that's why. But I think that they can drop their prices a bit

18. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

No companies doing business without profit. Some guys complain about high price of Samsung, but they might not realize how huge money Samsung invest in the manufacturing process. Like the S6 edge, the curve screen alone costs a big fraction of all entire phone parts. Moreover, Samsung R&D spending must take into account too. Don't you think Samsung want to compete with cheap Chinese phones with such low price tag? They can't drop price beyond their margin or else they would not make profit.

7. mdsrlatif

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 19, 2014

It is surprising to see Chinese brands replacing established brands like Sony, HTC. People barely know most of them outside China. Chinese phones are relatively cheaper but still their prices do not justify the end product. I am surprised to see prices of Lenovo and Oppo phones in my country. For me, a Chinese brand is no-go for any budget above $200. Perhaps only Chinese people buy them. But has Chinese population grown really that much that it affects overall top ten manufacturers list ;)

9. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

"For me, a Chinese brand is no-go for any budget above $200. Perhaps only Chinese people buy them." Now, that is just plain ignorance. If you won't buy any Chinese branded phones above $200, doesn't mean other people won't buy it and only the Chinese people will buy it. Asians buy it, Europeans buy it, Indians buy it etc. or let's make it simple, consumers buy it depending on what type of person you are. Open-minded people won't care about Chinese this Samsung that, they will buy what they like and not care about the brand name. This is how humans act these days, they won't admire the improvements and won't accept that the once bad was not bad anymore. Chinese phones nowadays are great, espcially from Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, Meizu, Vivo, Lenovo etc., it's the close-minded picky people that don't wanna accept the truth.

10. Ashoaib

Posts: 3299; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

for your kind information, chinese phones are great... they are not only sold in china but also sell very well in other countries... for example, many great phones of china doesnt export out of china but people like me are so highly impressed that they order chinese phones from online retailers... P.S. a proud owner of VIVO Xplay 3S

8. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Nah sony wont even care as they plan on more flagship!! So its all about the profit

27. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

sony is no more good. people won't buy sony phone because of bad old school design.

12. faptastic

Posts: 65; Member since: Aug 19, 2014

This entire article is based on educated radical guesswork by one person. I guess we'll have to see if this turns out correctly.

17. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Samsung and LG are going to be number one and three respectively. The only truly innovative companies' market share are under control right now.

23. ninja_master

Posts: 306; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Under control? You mean like you by samsung?

25. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Why are you always chasing me like an epileptic whenever I mention Samsung? Take a break, friend. Wait, let me guess... Oh that's right, because your Sony didn't make the top 10 list? LOL. Poor you... You'd better wait and see if Sony mobile division can survive more than 1 year, that makes more sense than stalking me right? Here I've got a dictionary for you: " under control = being dealt with or limited successfully " Next time, make sure to understand clearly what other wrote before come to tease him.

28. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

LG and Samsung are the two best. sony is bad company bad old school design

32. Galaxy_Apple

Posts: 129; Member since: May 24, 2015

from the looks of things , Don't think LG is doing to good , they can't overtake lenovo and Xiaomi is growing , Im sure in a few quarters Xiaomi will be no.4 lenovo/motorola will stay no.3. It's impressive that samsung is still doing so well though ,Apart from Apple , nobody even has half as much as samsung marketshare. the galaxy A series seems to be a big hit with metal build and good cameras.

19. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

Sammy,just release some tizen phones like the Z1. They would sell much better.

21. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I think Chinese phones will blow the big Android OEM's out of the water and later Apple too. We have seen it all before. Look what LG and Samsung did to sales of Japanese TV's. The same thing the Japanese did to US electronics products in the 70's and 80's. High quality and lower prices will carry the day, it's only a matter of time. We just need to get used to it or be an early adopter. The only thing getting in the way of many Chinese phones at the moment is that they aren't on band 4, but the latest Huawei phones are as well as OnePlus, and Asus - though they aren't Chinese.

26. FYoung

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

I find it puzzling that, according to this table, all of the top 10 brands, even the Chinese ones, are losing market share, except for the two Korean brands, Samsung and LG.

31. justForTheRecord

Posts: 51; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

Just what we need ... MORE PHABLETS ... NOT.

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