Analysis firm IDC’s latest smartphone market share figures make grim reading for Samsung.
The Korean giant had a torrid second quarter of 2014 according to the new stats, seeing shipments drop and its global share slide from 32.3% to 25.2%.
It wasn’t the only one to suffer. LG and Apple both registered drops, albeit smaller ones.
But what makes Samsung’s numbers stand out is the fact that the three month period on which IDC has reported was not a fallow one for the world’s biggest mobile maker.
Far from it.
It launched its flagship Galaxy S5 at this time, and despite what were seen as healthy sales, it simply has not been able to compete with its key rivals in major territories and the continued emergence of Huawei and Lenovo in China.
Couple these figures with the company’s forecast earlier this month that its profits slid by 25% during the same quarter and it’s not hard to deduce that something is deeply wrong.
This, after all, is the company that has slain all before it in the past two years.
Its Galaxy phones have become a byword for innovation, the ultimate expression of an alternative to Apple’s perceived hegemony.
Samsung will point to the impending launch of its Galaxy Note 4 and its rumoured Galaxy F as reasons to be optimistic.
But the last months of the year are traditionally more competitive, and not just because of Christmas looming.
There’s one thing that Samsung can’t control, and that’s pent up demand for the iPhone 6.
Apple might have seen its share drop to 11.9%, but globally its shipments are up, especially in so–called BRICs countries.
Its surge in China, especially, has been impressive.
The launch of the iPhone 6, expected to come in two sizes and finally with a screen that users have become accustomed to on larger Android handsets, has the potential to be Apple’s biggest ever.
Despite everyone predicting Cupertino’s decline, its dogged ability to stay on Samsung’s coat tails means it’ll be in a position to claw back even more market share by the end of 2014.
Is Samsung going to go the way of HTC or even Palm or Nokia? Of course not.
But its over-reliance on expensive marketing, the boom in cheaper smartphones from local manufacturers and the distinctly average design of its flagship products compared to key rivals shows it has seriously lost its way.
What's more, if Samsung doesn’t streamline its approach and deliver products that can wow consumers, its time at the top may well be coming to an end.