It's been a slow year for the smartphone industry

We all know that smartphone sales have slowed down recently, but it's apparently been especially sluggish this past year. According to Strategy Analytics' latest report, global shipments grew by 10 percent from Q3 2014 (323.4 million units) to Q3 2015 (354.2 million). However, 10 percent is tiny compared to previous quarters, making this the slowest growth rate within the past six years since the global recession in 2009. The research company attributes the industry's poor performance to the "increasing penetration maturity in major markets of the US, Europe and China." In other words, most people who want smartphones already have one, and not everyone can afford replacing theirs every year.

Despite the slow growth rate, Samsung did very well within the year ending in Q3 2015. For the first time since the first quarter of 2014, the South Korean manufacturer experienced positive growth, which explains why it made more money than expected. Samsung grew six percent this past year and shipped 83.8 million devices, thanks to price cuts on new models like the S6, as well as to the release of mid-range phones in developing markets. Apple continues to lag behind Samsung globally, but it still took 14 percent of the marketshare, which is two percent higher than last year's.