Smartphone Sales Beat Feature Phones

Smartphones outsold feature phones for the first time in Q2; Android gained momentum worldwide.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

August 14, 2013

3 Min Read

Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour

Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour

Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour (click image for larger view)

People around the world are increasingly ditching their feature phones for smartphones. According to research firm Gartner, worldwide smartphone sales reached 225 million units during the second quarter, up 46.5% from the year-ago period. During the same time, feature phone sales fell to 210 million units during the second quarter, down 21% compared to the year-ago period. Smartphones are now outselling feature phones.

Smartphone sales saw the biggest surges across Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, though growth was recorded all around the globe. Sales of Android devices are dominating, with global market share pegged at about 79%. Android is seeing the quickest adoption rates in emerging markets, where low-cost smartphones are driving volume. The difference in price between today's feature phones and entry-level smartphones is often negligible.

Android's 79% share of the global market grew significantly from last year, when it held 64.2% of the market. iOS is the second-ranked smartphone platform, but Apple saw its share drop from 18.8% last year to 14.2% this year. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform ranks third, growing from 2.6% of the market in 2012 to 3.3% of the market during the second quarter of 2013. It edged out BlackBerry OS, which dropped from 5.2% a year ago to 2.7% this year. Bada and Symbian each account for less than one-half of 1% of the smartphone market.

Together, Android and iOS account for 93.2% of all smartphones. Samsung and Apple remain the top two dogs in the smartphone space.

[ The smartphone market is more competitive than ever. Can Apple keep its lead? Read Apple iPhone 5S Faces Tough Rivals. ]

Samsung's shipments of 71.4 million smartphones give it 31.7% of the smartphone market. Apple's shipments of 31.9 million give it 14.2%; LG's shipments of 11.5 million give it 5.1%; Lenovo's shipments of 10.7 million give it 4.7%; and ZTE's shipments of 9.7 million give it 4.3%. Most of Lenovo and ZTE's sales come from China, their home market.

If there's one company that should be worried about the drop in smartphone sales, it's Nokia. The bulk of Nokia's phone shipments have always come from feature phones. It managed to push 61 million feature phones out the door during the second quarter, but that's down significantly from the 83 million it shipped the year prior. Sales of its Windows Phone smartphones are growing, but slowly.

"Smartphones accounted for 51.8% of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Gupta also noted that the industry is on track to ship a total of 1.82 billion units (smartphones and feature phones combined) by the end of the year. There's no slowdown in sales. "Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays, and the continued price reduction of smartphones will drive consumer adoption in the second half of the year."

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


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

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