As strong as they've been in the past few months, smartphone shipments are expected to decline slightly in 1Q14 due to factors such as the traditional off-peak quarter and "inventory-related pressures," Wilson Miao, TrendForce's Mobile DRAM analyst, says.
As noted in Miao's original report...
"With smartphone makers ramping up Q4 shipments as a means to fulfill 2013 sales targets and pressures related to inventory digestion mounting, TrendForce projects that the global smartphone shipments will drop by an estimated 5.1% in 1Q14."
Based on the 2013 data compiled by the global market research firm, worldwide smartphone shipments for the entire year ended at 945 million units, which represents a growth of 33.5% YoY. To Miao, some of the most significant trends that turned out to be highly noteworthy include:
*The gradual decline in the shipments of Samsung's high end smartphone models, which plunged from 50% in 1Q13 to 38% in 2H'13. (Conversely, the ratio of its mid to low ranged devices rose by a significant amount).
* The improved growth in Apple's shipments following its decision to introduce the iPhone 5s and 5c in China during 2013. The decision turned out to be a success not only in terms of boosting the company's global market share, but also in terms of increasing its quarterly revenues and, most likely, gross profit.
* The growing popularity enjoyed by LG and Sony, as evidenced in their respective shipments of 11 million units and 12 million units in 4Q13. Miao specifically refered to them as the "two dark horses" to look out for in the smartphone industry.
* The rising impact of Samsung and Apple in the Chinese regions and the subsequent decline in shipments experienced by Chinese brands such as Huawei and Lenovo