Meanwhile, Apple's strong ecosystem and its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus drove strong replacements within the iOS base - these new smartphones also offered new users, who are looking for larger screen phones, a strong alternative to Android.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, Lenovo, which includes sales of mobile phones by Lenovo and Motorola, moved to the no.3 spot in the global smartphone market, reaching 6.6 percent market share and growing 47.6 percent year over year.
Lenovo's sales of mobile phones in its home market, China, grew 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. In addition, its strong mobile phone sales in Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil in the fourth quarter of 2014 helped it grow by 26 percent in the global mobile phone market.
Chinese vendors, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, are continuing to improve their sales in China and other overseas markets, increasing their share in the mid to low-end smartphone market.
"Chinese vendors are no longer followers," Cozza adds.
"They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market. Brand building and marketing will be key activities in deciding which Chinese vendors can secure a foothold in mature markets."
Cozza says the availability of smartphones at lower prices accelerated the migration of feature phone users to smartphones pushing the smartphone operating system (OS) market to double-digit growth in most emerging countries, including India, Russia and Mexico.
This trend continued to benefit Android, which saw its market share grow 2.2 percentage points in 2014, and 32 percent year on year.
Chinese and other smaller players drove Android's performance in 2014, while more established players at the higher end of the market continued to struggle to increase stickiness to their brands and ecosystems.
Meanwhile, Windows Phone's performance was flat but it recorded strong results in some markets in Europe, and in the business segment.