New Players, Markets Drive Smartphone Sales
The day is not too far away, when every phone will be a smartphone and almost everyone will have one. The global sales of mobile phones to end users were flat in the third quarter of 2014, while sales of smartphones grew 20.3 percent to reach 301 million units, according to a Gartner study.
The research firm states that in the third quarter of 2014, smartphones accounted for 66 percent of the total mobile phone market and estimates by 2018, nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.
“Sales of feature phones declined 25 percent in the third quarter of 2014 because the difference in price between feature phones and low-cost Android smartphones is reducing further,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
From a regional perspective, emerging markets exhibited some of the highest growths ever recorded with Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa achieving the highest increase in the third quarter of 2014, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50 percent year-over-year, says Gartner.
Among the mature markets, the US achieved the highest growth, with an 18.9 percent rise in the third quarter of 2014, fostered by the launch of the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus. Western Europe saw a decline of 5.2 percent, the third consecutive decline this year.
“Over the holidays we expect record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but we should not underestimate the Chinese vendors and local brands,” states Annette Zimmermann, Research Director at Gartner.
Samsung losing its edge?
As such sales of Samsung’s feature phones and smartphones declined in the third quarter of 2014. The decline came from feature phones, which decreased by 10.8 percent year-over-year. Demand for Samsung’s smartphones weakened mostly in Western Europe and Asia.
Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 28.6 percent in China, the biggest market for Samsung. Sales of iPhones grew 26 per cent in the third quarter of 2014, according ti the study.
With the introduction of two large-screen phones for the first time, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple managed to neutralize the advantage of Android competitors. Gartner expects Apple to experience its biggest ever fourth-quarter sales, with both of its large-screen phones seeing demand exceed supply since their launch.
Although Huawei moved into the number three position in the third quarter of 2014 there is still less than 1 million units between the bottom-three smartphone vendors in the top five.
Xiaomi made its debut among the top-five smarpthone vendors. It experienced the highest growth of the quarter, with an increase of 336 percent driven by strong performance in China where it became market leader.
In the smartphone OS market, Android continued to increase its market share with a rise of 22 percent. On the other hand, Windows lost market share, as Zimmermann forewarns, Microsoft needs to keep the momentum going with the introduction of more mid-range devices.
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