Smartphones account for 55pc of all phones sold globally in Q3

14 Nov 2013

Sales of feature phones continue to decline and smartphones are now in the ascendency, accounting for 55pc of all phones sold globally, according to Gartner.

Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 250.2m units, up 45.8pc from the third quarter of 2012. Asia/Pacific led the growth in both markets – the smartphone segment with 77.3pc increase and the mobile phone segment with 11.9pc growth.

“Sales of feature phones continued to decline and the decrease was more pronounced in markets where the average selling price (ASP) for feature phones was much closer to the ASP for affordable smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“In markets such as China and Latin America, demand for feature phones fell significantly as users rushed to replace their old models with smartphones.” 

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Gartner analysts said global mobile phone sales are on pace to reach 1.81bn units in 2013, a 3.4pc increase from 2012. “We will see several new tablets enter the market for the holiday season, and we expect consumers in mature markets will favour the purchase of smaller-sized tablets over the replacement of their older smartphones” Gupta explained.

While Samsung’s share was flat in the third quarter of 2013, Samsung increased its lead over Apple in the global smartphone market. The launch of the Samsung Note 3 helped reaffirm Samsung as the clear leader in the large display smartphone market, which it pioneered. 

Lenovo’s sales of smartphones grew to 12.9m units, up 84.5pc year-on-year. It constantly raised share in the Chinese smartphone market. 

Apple’s smartphone sales reached 30.3m units in the third quarter of 2013, up 23.2pc from a year ago. “While the arrival of the new iPhones 5s and 5c had a positive impact on overall sales, such impact could have been greater had they not started shipping late in the quarter. While we saw some inventory built up for the iPhone 5c, there was good demand for iPhone 5s with stock out in many markets,” Gupta said.

Android nears 82pc of all smartphones globally

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In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android surpassed 80pc market share in the third quarter of 2013, which helped extend its leading position.

“However, the winner of this quarter is Microsoft, which grew 123pc. Microsoft announced the intent to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, which we believe will unify effort and help drive appeal of Windows ecosystem,” Gupta explained.

“Forty-one per cent of all Android sales were in mainland China, compared to 34pc a year ago. Samsung is the only non-Chinese vendor in the top 10 Android players ranking in China.

“Whitebox Yulong is the third largest Android vendor in China, with a 9.7pc market share in the third quarter of 2013. Xiaomi represented 4.3pc of Android sales in the third quarter of 2013, up from 1.4pc a year ago,” Gupta said.

Smartphone era image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years