Worldwide sales of smartphones rose massively in Q3 2013 as demand for devices from brands such as Samsung and Apple continues to grow. Meanwhile Lenovo stole the third spot from LG, as the Chinese vendor prepares for a major push in 2014.
Research from Gartner showed that sales hit 455 million for the third quarter, an increase of 5.7 percent on the same period last year, and were up 20 million on Q2 2013.
The big winners in this growth were Samsung, which saw its sales rise from 55 million to 80 million, compared with the same quarter in 2012. This in turn helped boost the Android operating system to over 80 percent of the phone market, with 205 million phones sold in the quarter.
Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said the figures underlined just how well Samsung was doing as it kept pace with market growth levels.
“Samsung has delivered a very good performance over the last year as it has matched the market growth and has a very strong hold in the smartphone market,” said Gupta.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s biggest rival Apple saw phone sales rising from 24 million to 30 million between Q3 2012 and Q2 2013, although its overall market share declined from 14.3 percent to 12.1 percent.
Gupta said that the firm had done well over the quarter thanks to the iPhone 5S, as underlined by many locations running out of stock, but said the 5C remained an unclear proposition.
“For mature markets people are going straight to the top end with the 5S, but for emerging markets the 5C is still too expensive, and the 4S is preferred as it is under the $400 price point,” he said.
Microsoft, the third major player in the market, had a positive quarter, with sales of devices using its Windows Phone platform rising from 3.9 million to 8.9 million. Despite this Nokia, which sold its mobile phone unit to Microsoft during the quarter, saw its market share fall by 5.3 percent.
Gupta said Windows Phone growth would need Nokia to start really producing more devices for the sub-$200 and $100 price points to help it fight back against Android's dominance in the emerging markets.
This growth of Android in regions such as China helped to propel Lenovo to its number three spot in the market, with 5.1 percent market share, as the number three spot for manufacturers remains a dog fight between firms such as Lenovo, LG and Huawei.
Gupta said Lenovo currently sees 95 percent of its sales from China, but that it is setting itself up to expand more aggressively into new markets in 2014 and so could maintain this growth and establish the number three spot.
“I think Lenovo is preparing itself well in terms of investing in carriers and partners outside China and to help get reasonable numbers in non-home markets in the coming quarters,” he said.
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