Samsung lost eight percent of its smartphone market share in the third quarter of 2014, shedding over seven million unit sales compared with the same quarter last year, according to the latest research from Gartner.
In contrast, Apple has seen a hike of 26 percent in unit sales, equating to an more than eight million smartphones, and now has a market share of 12.7 percent. This was driven by strong demand for its newest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices.
Windows-based smartphones also had a less successful quarter, seeing a drop of 0.6 percent to a mere three percent, despite Microsoft's recent purchase of Nokia.
Microsoft joins Samsung in having invested heavily in the smartphone market, but neither company had a successful quarter.
Samsung's sales declined in Western Europe and Asia. Sales in China, the firm's biggest market, fell by over 28 percent.
iOS and Android market share, meanwhile, rose by 0.6 and 1.1 percent respectively. iOS now holds 12.7 percent of the market, while Android dominates with 83.1 percent.
Samsung announced plans recently to cut down its smartphone range to focus on key market areas.
Chinese smartphone manufacturers had more to celebrate during the quarter. Huawei saw its global market share increase by 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent, translating into sales of over four million units in the period.
The star player, however, was Xiaomi, which multiplied its quarterly sales by a factor of five, selling 15 million units compared with 3.6 million units in the same quarter last year. Gartner now cites Xiaomi as the leader in the Chinese smartphone market.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, explained that the smartphone market is in flux owing to the growing presence of Chinese brands that threaten the established positions of Samsung and Apple.
"With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs, Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too and address the needs of upgrade users that aspire to premium phones, but cannot afford Apple or Samsung high-end products," she said.
Overall smartphone sales increased by 50 million units compared with the third quarter of 2013 to pass 300 million sales, indicating that there is still a very healthy market for the devices.
Samsung's woes are compounded by the fact that it failed to delay a court case over unpaid smartphone royalties to Microsoft.
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