Smartphones To Finally Outsell Feature Phones In 2013 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
2/13/2013
02:40 PM
50%
50%

Smartphones To Finally Outsell Feature Phones In 2013

Gartner says the world is on pace to sell about 1.9 billion mobile phones this year, with smartphones accounting for 1 billion of that.

Six Ways The iPhone 5 and iOS 6 Amp Up Social Opportunities
Six Ways The iPhone 5 and iOS 6 Amp Up Social Opportunities
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
It is possible that the world will reach a major turning point this year. The latest numbers from Gartner suggest that smartphones will outsell feature phones globally for the first time by the end of the year.

Gartner thinks the world is on pace to sell about 1.9 billion mobile phones this year, with smartphones accounting for 1 billion and feature phones accounting for the remaining 900 million. The tide will likely not switch until the second half of the year.

Looking at the numbers from 2012, the trend is evident. The worldwide cell phone market contracted during 2012, but it is set to rebound in 2013. Actual device sales to end users totaled 1.75 billion, which is 1.7% lower than 2011. During the fourth quarter, sales of feature phones numbered 264.4 million. That's a steep 19.3% drop year-over-year. At the same time, sales of smartphones during the fourth quarter rocketed up 38.3% year-over-year to 207.7 million.

[ A smartphone for your wrist? Read Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense. ]

During the fourth quarter, feature phones accounted for 56% of all device sales, with smartphones trailing at 44%. The gap between these two numbers, however, has been shrinking for years now. In the U.S., for example, top-tier carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless report that smartphones account for as much as 75% of all device sales. The bulk of feature phones are sold in emerging markets. It is these markets where the proliferation of inexpensive smartphones will have the greatest impact.

The coming global dominance of smartphones means the battle between platforms and hardware makers for supremacy has even wider implications. Gartner confirmed, just as Strategy Analytics and Canalys did earlier this year, that Apple and Samsung largely own the smartphone market. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple and Samsung together held 52% of the smartphone market, up from 46.4% in the third quarter. Samsung is the world's largest vendor of smartphones, and Apple ranks second.

The number-three spot is anyone's game, though. "There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the number three spot in global smartphone sales," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. "The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand." In other words, whatever company lands in the number-three spot isn't necessarily competing with Apple and Samsung.

Gartner's numbers back up previous reports that named Huawei as the world's third-largest provider of smartphones. In 2012, Huawei sold 27.2 million smartphones to end users, up 73.8% from the previous year.

According to IDC, Huawei saw 89.5% growth year-over-year as it managed to ship 10.8 million smartphone during the fourth quarter of 2012. That's still far behind Samsung's shipments of 63.7 million and Apple's shipments of 47.8 million for the same period.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey on the state of database technology in the enterprise. Take our InformationWeek 2013 Database Technology Survey now. Survey ends Feb. 15.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Johnnythegeek
50%
50%
Johnnythegeek,
User Rank: Strategist
2/14/2013 | 4:01:17 PM
re: Smartphones To Finally Outsell Feature Phones In 2013
I have to wonder how long this will continue? With many Countries still having a weak income average and a lot of people rethinking the costs of data plans. I myself included. I would have to seriously rethink my next phone purchase. As I don't really think in general I "need" a smartphone. I certainly wanted one when I bought my first one a year and half ago. But since then I have to say its not as useful as I had expected.
I most certainly would not buy anything in a smartphone that was in the price range of a iPhone or Samsung Galaxy line.
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Industries with Job Openings Right Now
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/27/2020
Commentary
How 5G Rollout May Benefit Businesses More than Consumers
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/21/2020
News
IT Leadership in Education: Getting Online School Right
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/20/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Slideshows
Flash Poll