Huawei and Lenovo now among the top five smartphone makers

Need proof that China is a crucial smartphone market? Strategy Analytics is more than happy to oblige. It just posted third quarter global market share estimates showing that Huawei has overtaken LG since the Q2 report, claiming third place with 5.1 percent of sales. This isn't the first time that the Chinese phone maker has reached such lofty heights, but it comes even as LG produced stellar results; Huawei just happened to grow faster. Researchers attributed the rise to strong sales of its higher-end Ascend P6 and the mainstream G610, particularly in Huawei's home country.

Otherwise, it's a familiar story. Samsung is still ruling the roost with 35.2 percent share, while Apple held on to the second-place spot at 13.4 percent. Huawei also isn't guaranteed to maintain its position when LG is likely to get a fourth quarter sales boost from the G2. However, it's evident that smartphone designers shouldn't get too comfy -- it doesn't take much to change the status quo.

Huawei overtakes LG in smartphone market share during Q3

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Samsung & Huawei Outperform as Global Smartphone Shipments Reach Quarter-Billion Units in Q3 2013

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually to reach a record 251 million units in the third quarter of 2013. Samsung captured a record 35 percent share of all smartphone volumes worldwide, while Huawei jumped into third place in the rankings.

Global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012 to 251.4 million in Q3 2013. This was the first time ever that smartphone shipments exceeded a quarter-billion units in a single quarter. Smartphones accounted for 6 in 10 of all mobile phones shipped worldwide. The smartphone industry's robust growth is being driven by strong demand for LTE models in developed regions like the US and 3G devices in emerging markets such as China.

Samsung grew 55 percent annually and shipped a record 88.4 million smartphones worldwide, capturing a record 35 percent marketshare in Q3 2013. Samsung shipped over two times more smartphones than Apple during the quarter. While shipments of the flagship Galaxy S4 model softened, solid demand for the new Note 3 phablet and for mass-market devices like the Galaxy Y helped to lift Samsung's volumes.

Apple shipped 33.8 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2013, up from 26.9 million a year earlier. Apple grew just 26 percent annually during Q3 2013, which is around half the overall smartphone industry average of 45 percent. Apple's global smartphone marketshare has dipped noticeably from 16 percent to 13 percent during the past year. Nonetheless, we expect Apple to rebound sharply and regain share in the upcoming fourth quarter of 2013 due to high demand for its new iPhone 5s model.

Huawei was a star performer as global shipments grew 67 percent annually to 12.7 million units in Q3 2013. Huawei captured 5 percent marketshare and became the world's third largest smartphone vendor. The popular P6 and G610 models have been among the main drivers of Huawei's success. Huawei remains very strong at home in China, but its position is less robust in other major markets like the US and Europe. Huawei will need to expand aggressively in the American and European markets if it wants to seriously challenge the big two of Samsung and Apple next year.

Other findings from our research include:

* LG shipped 12.0 million smartphones worldwide for 5 percent marketshare in Q3 2013. LG grew 71 percent annually, making it the fastest-growing vendor among the top five brands. LG has been expanding rapidly in Europe, but China and India remain weak spots;

* Lenovo shipped 10.8 million smartphones worldwide for 4 percent marketshare and fifth position in Q3 2013. Lenovo is popular among mass-market consumers in China and it is expanding internationally. Two of the world's top five smartphone vendors came from China -- Lenovo and Huawei.

The full report, Huawei Reaches Third Place as Global Smartphone Shipments Reach Quarter-Billion Units in Q3 2013, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/bps9qhr.