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Smartphone shipments posted their second biggest quarter, according to preliminary results from International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
In total, vendors shipped 337.2 million smartphones in the second quarter (Q2) of 2015, an 11.6 percent gain compared to Q2 2014, and enough for a second-place showing. The industry set a record in Q4 2014 when it shipped 375.2 million smartphones on the strength of Apple's popular iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, particularly in the U.S. and China.
Though demand for the iPhone and other premium phones remained brisk, affordable smartphones also helped lift the market last month.
"The overall growth of the smartphone market was not only driven by the success of premium flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, and others, but more importantly by the abundance of affordable handsets that continue to drive shipments in many key markets," observed IDC research director Anthony Scarsella in a statement.
Device makers are increasingly shifting their businesses toward smartphones as flip phones and candy bar-style handsets fade into obscurity. "As feature phone shipments continue to decrease, vendors will continue to attack both emerging and developed markets with competitive smartphones that are both rich in features and low in price," Scarsella said.
In China, there are no shortage of low-cost entrants, noted Melissa Chau, IDC Mobile Phone group's senior research manager.
"While the Chinese players are clearly making gains this quarter, every quarter sees new brands joining the market," she said. "IDC now tracks over 200 different smartphone brands globally, many of them focused on entry level and mid-range models, and most with a regional or even single-country focus."
Despite the added competition, Apple had a big quarter. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant shipped 47.5 million iPhones, a 34.9 percent jump that set a fiscal third quarter record for the company. "The larger screened iPhones along with the rapid expansion of 4G networks in China continued to drive momentum for Apple in Asia/Pacific," stated IDC.
Samsung shipped 73.2 million smartphones in Q2 for 24.8 percent of the market and the number one spot among vendors. IDC noticed that the Korean electronics manufacturer stumbled early in supplying enough Galaxy 6 Edge phones to meet demand.
"Older Galaxy models, however, sold briskly thanks to deep discounts and promotions throughout the quarter. All eyes will now be on the early release of the pending Note 5 and rumored S6 edge plus to come this August," said the research firm.
Rounding out the top five are Huawei with 8.9 percent of the market, Xiaomi (5.3 percent) and Lenovo (4.8 percent).
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.