Emily Tan
Aug 21, 2013

Smartphones overtake feature phones, Asian brands dominate: Gartner

GLOBAL - The introduction of affordable smartphones has started to turn the tide with worldwide smartphone sales accounting for nearly 52 per cent of mobile phones sold in the second quarter of this year, the first time smartphones have outsold feature phones, says a report by Gartner.

Smartphones overtake feature phones, Asian brands dominate: Gartner

Asia-Pacific showed the world's strongest growth rate for smartphones, increasing by more than 74 per cent year-on-year. Other regions with high growth in smartphone sales are Latin America with 55.7 per cent and Eastern Europe with 31.6 per cent. 

In total, worldwide mobile phone sales amounted to 435 million units in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 3.6 per cent from the same period last year. Smartphone sales increased 46.5 per cent to reach 225 million units, while feature phone sales dropped 21 per cent to a total of 210 million units. 

Smartphone Brands

Asian brands dominated smartphone sales with four out of five of the world's top manufacturers among the leaders with Samsung in top spot. 

The Korean manufacturer's share of smartphone sales reached 31.7 per cent, up from 29.7 per cent in the same period last year. 

“We see demand in the premium smartphone market mainly in the lower end of this segment in the $400-and-below ASP [average sales price] mark," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.  "It will be critical for Samsung to step up its game in the mid-tier and also be more aggressive in emerging markets. Innovation cannot be limited to the high end."

The trend towards lower smartphone average sales prices however is likely to continue into the third quarter according to Samsung's vice president of mobile business, Kim Hyun-joon, during an earnings call, reported Reuters. 

Apple remains in second place with 14.2 per cent market share thanks to 32 million smartphones sold in the second quarter, an increase of about 10 per cent from 2012. The brand too faced a significant drop in the ASP of its smartphones, despite the iPhone 5 being the most popular model. The drop is due to strong sales of the iPhone 4, which has been sold at a highly discounted price. 

"While Apple’s ASP demonstrates the need for a new flagship model, it is risky for Apple to introduce a new lower-priced model too,” said Gupta. “Although the possible new lower-priced device may be priced similarly to the iPhone 4 at $300 to $400, the potential for cannibalisation will be much greater than what is seen today with the iPhone 4. Despite being seen as the less expensive sibling of the flagship product, it would represent a new device with the hype of the marketing associated with it.”

In third and fourth place are LG Electronics and Lenovo with 11.5 million and 10.7 million smartphones sold respectively with Lenovo surging ahead of fellow Chinese mobile manufacturer ZTE with a smartphone sales growth of 144 per cent year-on-year. This is the first time the manufacturer has attained the fourth spot in the worldwide smarpthone market. 

"Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market in China, which represents more than 95 percent of its sales," said Gartner. "It remains challenging for Lenovo to expand outside China as it has to strengthen its direct channel as well as its relationships with communications service providers."

Smartphone OS

In the smartphone OS market, Microsoft has overtaken ailing BlackBerry for the first time, overtaking it in third spot with 3.3 per cent market share in the second quarter. 

 “While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users,” said Gupta.

Android continued to increase its lead, garnering 79 per cent of the market in the second quarter. 

Total mobile phone sales

Asian brands make up three of the top five global mobile phone vendors in this quarter with Samsung topping the list. Nokia manages to hang on to its second-spot but the slowing demand of feature phone sales has impacted the Finnish manufacturer's sales. Nokia’s mobile phone sales totlaled 61 million units, down from 83 million units a year ago. Nokia’s Lumia sales grew 112.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 thanks to its expanded Lumia portfolio, which now includes Lumia 520 and Lumia 720.

“With the recent announcement of the Lumia 1020, Nokia has built a wide portfolio of devices at multiple price points, which should boost Lumia sales in the second half of 2013,” said Gupta. “However, Nokia is facing tough competition from Android devices, especially from regional and Chinese manufacturers which are more aggressive in terms of price points.”


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