iPhone5Setting a new milestone in the worldwide market for smartphones, unit shipments surpassed 300 million in 2Q for the first time ever. According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total 301.3 million units worldwide in 2Q, a year-over-year rise of 25.3 percent from 2Q 2013’s 240.5 million.

Dominating in terms of mobile OS, Android and iOS’ collective market share swelled to 96.4 percent in 2Q, IDC highlighted, “leaving little space for competitors.”

Growth in Android smartphone shipments was the main factor, with vendor partners shipping 255.3 million units, a 33.3 percent year-over-year increase. Android’s share of the smartphone OS market rose to 84.7 percent in 2Q from 79.6 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Smartphone Shipments
That’s a new record, nearly doubling Android’s share from just three years ago, according to IDC. Shipments of Samsung Android smartphones were the main reason, accounting for 29.3 percent of total Android shipments in 2Q. That’s down from 40 percent two years ago, however. Other vendors have stepped up, including Coolpad, Huawei, Lenovo, LG, Xiaomi and ZTE, all of whom increased their Android smartphone shipments in 2Q.

While worldwide shipments of iOS smartphones rose 12.7 percent, Apple’s smartphone OS market share dropped from 13 percent in 2Q 2013 to 11.7 percent in 2Q this year. “iOS may have reached its lowest quarterly volume for the year, if history is any indication,” IDC commented.

“For the past two years, third quarter volumes received a boost from shipments of its new devices towards the end of the quarter, resulting in slightly higher volumes compared to the second quarter. Whether or not this happens again this year remains to be seen, especially with the anticipated arrival of larger-screen iPhones.”

Windows Phone shipment volumes fell from 8.2 million a year ago to 7.4 million in 2Q this year but showed a “slight improvement” quarter to quarter. Windows Phone’s market share dropped from 3.4 percent in 2Q 2013 to 2.5 percent in 2Q 2014. IDC anticipates Windows Phone will receive a boost during the second half of 2014 as “numerous vendors within key emerging markets come on board, including BLU, Micromax, Prestigio, Yezz and others, joining Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE among the ranks of OEMs running smartphones on Windows’ mobile OS.

Reversing course, BlackBerry shipment volumes rose slightly quarter-to-quarter in 2Q to reach 1.5 million for a market share of 0.5 percent. BlackBerry smartphone shipments totaled 6.7 million in 2Q 2013, when BlackBerry had a 2.8 percent market share.

Commenting on the latest survey results, IDC’s Mobile Phone team research manager Ramon Llamas stated, “With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets.

“During the second quarter, 58.6% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide cost less than $200 off contract, making them very attractive compared to other devices. With the recent introduction of Android One, in which Google offers reference designs below $100 to Android OEMs, the proportion of sub-$200 volumes will climb even higher.”

“It’s been an incredible upward slog for other OS players – Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the 5% share mark, while the backing of the world’s largest smartphone player, Samsung, has not boosted Tizen into the spotlight,” added Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

“The biggest stumbling block is around getting enough partnerships in play – not just phone manufacturers but also developers, many of which are smaller outfits looking to minimize development efforts by sticking to the two big ecosystems.”