Samsung's phone market share takes a bruising as Chinese rivals surge

Samsung warned that its smartphone sales weren't that great this spring, and now we have the numbers to show just what the company meant. IDC estimates that Samsung's smartphone shipments saw a rare year-over-year drop in the second quarter, taking it from a lofty 32.3 percent market share down to 25.2 percent. That's still enough to give it a comfortable lead, but a shock for a company which is used to growth. The cause, analysts say, is the rapid rise of Chinese brands that cut directly into Samsung's low-end business. Huawei claimed 6.9 percent of the smartphone space after doubling its shipments, thanks in part to heavy discounts on phones like the Ascend P7; Lenovo jumped to 5.4 percent on the back of both budget phones at home as well as rapid expansion abroad.

Both Apple (11.9 percent) and LG (4.9 percent) lost share, although IDC notes that their shipments were up. Also, neither firm was expected to have a stellar season. LG only just launched its hot-selling G3 flagship at the tail end of the spring, while many expect Apple to jumpstart sales with at least one new iPhone in September. It may be trickier for Samsung to bounce back, however. The spring was supposed to represent a big spike in sales as the Galaxy S5 arrived, but that didn't materialize. The company is pinning its hopes on both a new Galaxy Note and a mountain of budget phones. However, historically, neither has sold as well as the Galaxy S series.

IDC estimates for smartphone market share, Q2 2014