Android Wins 81% Of Smartphone Market

Apple's marketshare slips, Microsoft sees gains, and BlackBerry sales reach catastrophic lows.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

November 12, 2013

3 Min Read

8 Phablets To Watch

8 Phablets To Watch

8 Phablets To Watch (click image for larger view)

Android has a commanding lead over all other smartphone operating systems, according to data from IDC. Hardware makers shipped a combined 211.6 million Android smartphones during the third quarter of the year, giving it an incredible 81% of the market. At the same time, Apple saw its share of the smartphone market slip further, while Microsoft continued to make gains.

It's not all roses and gumdrops for Android device makers. Samsung alone accounted for 39.9% of all Android shipments for the quarter, said IDC. No other vendor had more than 10% of Android shipments. In fact, most vendors had less than 1% market share. IDC didn't provide a breakdown on the rest of the players, but Alcatel, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Pantech, Sony, ZTE, and many others are all scrambling for a piece of the Android pie. Of these, LG is perhaps the most successful after Samsung.

Microsoft is still posting gains. Sales of Windows Phone devices surged 156% year-over-year from 3.7 million units during the third quarter of 2012 to 9.5 million in the same period of 2013. Windows Phone still has a minimal footprint overall, though, with just 3.6% of the smartphone market.

[ The pie is growing. Who will benefit the most? Read Smartphone Sales Poised For Rapid Growth. ]

"Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price," said Ramon Llamas, research mManager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward."

Sales of iPhones continue to increase in raw numbers, but aren't growing at the same rate as are sales of Android-based devices. Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones during the third quarter of 2012 and 33.8 million during the third quarter of 2013. That represents 25.6% year-over-year growth, but its marketshare slid from 14.4% to 12.9%.

Sales of BlackBerry devices tanked. BlackBerry shipped 7.7 million handsets during the third quarter of 2012, but only 4.5 million during the third quarter of 2013. Year-over-year, its share of the market plunged from 4.1% to 1.7%. Given BlackBerry's struggle with BlackBerry 10 and its announcement during the middle of the third quarter that it was exploring strategic alternatives, it is no surprise to see its share of the smartphone market bottom out.

What makes Android so successful? Price and variety, says IDC. It notes sales of phablets, or large-screened smartphone, have surged from 3% of the market a year ago to 21% of the market this year. IDC expects that Nokia's new phablet will help drive more sales of Windows Phones during the fourth quarter. At the same time, the iPhone's small screen is hurting Apple.

"We believe the absence of a large-screen device may have contributed to Apple's inability to grow share in the third quarter," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. The sooner Apple can bring iPhones with large screens to market, the better.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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