As established markets begin to saturate, smartphone manufacturers are now facing more intense competition than ever before. Though Apple and Samsung have emerged as market leaders, even their shipment numbers may be threatened by inexpensive smartphones from Chinese manufacturers like ZTE and Huwei.
Today DigiTimes Research provided its smartphone estimate for the year, predicting that over 1.24 billion smartphones will be shipped globally during 2014. The firm also predicted the top 10 manufacturers for the year, including Samsung, Apple, LG, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei, Microsoft, ZTE, Coolpad, and TCL.
Though Samsung will continue out-shipping other vendors due to its wide manufacturing reach and wide variety of handsets, the Korean company may not see much growth in 2014. DigiTimes sees growth for Samsung as "limited" in emerging markets due to the push Apple is making in China and other regions.
Apple, on the other hand, is expected to grow significantly, with DigiTimes predicting that its shipments in 2014 could even double those seen in 2013. Mobile provider deals in China and Japan are expected to extend Apple's reach in Asia, as its brand propels its lower-cost iPhone 5C smartphone sales.
Chinese brands are expected to continue to dominate their domestic markets with inexpensive smartphones. However, having gained a foothold in global market share, brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, and Coolpad are expected to expand their global shipments throughout 2014.