Smartphones have dominated mobile phone sales in developed markets for the past few years, and now the global market is catching up. Now, it appears that smartphones have turned a corner and are now leading worldwide sales of mobile phones.
Market research firm Gartner this week released a report showing that smartphone sales made up 55% of all mobile phone sales during the third quarter of 2013. Total mobile phone shipments topped 455 million, a 5.7% increase over shipments during the third quarter of 2012. Smartphone sales in particular were up nearly 46% year-over-year.
Though the mobile phone market has gotten a boost in recent years from smartphones, that period of growth may slowing. Gartner predicts the mobile phone market will sell-through 1.81 billion devices total in 2013, a small 3.4% increase over 2012. Part of this slowdown may be the growth of the tablet market, which the firm predicts consumers might choose over upgrading older mobile devices.
The breakdown of smartphone sales numbers provides now surprises during the third quarter.
Samsung still leads the smartphone market with over 80 million smartphones sold during the quarter, making up 32% of the overall market. Apple's market share declined year-over-year to just 12%, though it did manage to ship more units during this year's third quarter. That drop in share was taken up by Chinese manufacturers such as Lenovo and Huawei as well as LG, which jumped to a 4.8% market share during the quarter.
“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," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. "While we saw some inventory built up for the iPhone 5c, there was good demand for iPhone 5s with stock out in many markets.”
For smartphone platforms, Android still dominates the competition by running on just under 82% of all the smartphones sold during the third quarter. Apple's iOS comes in second with around 12% and Microsoft's Windows Phone platforms have risen significantly to 3.6%. BlackBerry was the clear loser last quarter, shipping fewer than half the smartphones it did during the third quarter of 2012 and dropping to just a 1.8% market share.