The worldwide smartphone market surged to new heights during the third quarter of 2015, driven by demand for low-cost devices in emerging markets, while Samsung and Apple remained the two top manufactures in this competitive technology segment, according to a Nov. 18 report from Gartner.
Overall, global smartphone sales to end-users totaled 353 million units during the third quarter of this year, a 15.5% increase from the same period in 2014, according to Gartner's numbers.
While smartphone sales in emerging markets rose to 259.7 million in the third quarter of 2015, representing an 18.4% growth over the third quarter of 2014, sales in mature markets saw an increase of just 8.2% over the same period.
"The availability of affordable smartphones in emerging markets saw consumers upgrade their 'feature phones' to smartphones more quickly because of the small price gap," Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, explained in a statement.
The third quarter of 2015 saw Samsung refresh several of its flagship Galaxy devices, while Apple continued its dominance in the premium segment of the smartphone market with its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models for most of the third quarter of 2015.
In addition, Apple got a major boost -- thanks to massive media attention -- with the global launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus during the last week of September, along with the simultaneous launch in China.
Samsung continued to hold a steady lead in the market, moving more than 83.5 million smartphones, good for a total marketshare of nearly 25%, while Apple landed in second place with 46 million iPhones sold, representing 13.1% of the market.
Huawei placed third with 27.2 million handsets sold and a 7.7% marketshare, thanks to the company's strong growth at home in China and Europe, coupled with rising market visibility and brand awareness.
Lenovo and Xiaomi rounded out the top five with around 17 million smartphones sold each. However the report noted the results for Lenovo include sales of mobile phones by Lenovo and Motorola, the company it acquired last October.
Outside of the top five vendors, Gartner's "Other" category made up the bulk of the market and sales, representing 45% of smartphones sold and moving 161.2 million handsets worldwide.
In the smartphone operating system market, Apple's iOS continued to see strong performance. It grew 21% above market average.
Google's rival Android platform gained 1.4% points in share year-over-year thanks to strong smartphone global sales from Samsung and Huawei.
On the other end, Microsoft continued to struggle, seeing Windows smartphone marketshare plunge from a paltry 3% in the third quarter of 2014 to an even less significant 1.7% this quarter.
"Despite the announcement of Windows 10, we expect Windows smartphone market share will continue to be a small portion of the overall smartphone OS market as consumers remain attracted by competing ecosystems," Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Microsoft smartphones will mainly focus on driving value for enterprise users."
Beleaguered smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry brought up the rear, selling just 977,000 smartphones to represent 0.3% of the overall market. The company is hoping its Priv device, which is based on Android, helps it climb out of the basement.
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