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It’s time to face facts. Samsung isn’t going to be usurped from its position on top of the smartphone pile any time soon.
In fact, the latest figures from tech research company Gartner suggest that Samsung is still on the rise and that its rival-in-chief Apple has actually lost market share. That, it seems, is largely down to Android gaining further ground, such that three-quarters of all smartphones shipped around the world run the Google-made OS.
As the worldwide market returns to (slight) growth, it’s up 0.7% from the same period last year, Samsung affirmed its place as the number one manufacturer in the smartphone and overall mobile space. Its overall market share grew 13% in the first quarter of 2013. Its share of smartphones reached 30.8%, up 3.2 percentage points from the first quarter of 2012. Expect that number to keep growing as the Galaxy S4 becomes more widely available.
Apple meanwhile is increasingly hindered by the fact that it’s becoming dependent on the upgrade cycle of its phones rather than reaching new territories. The much-rumored “emerging markets” iPhone might go some way to fixing that, but it could also alienate serious Apple fans. That said, the Cupertino giant accounted for nine percent of all mobile phones sold in the first quarter of 2013.
That’s largely down to the fact that smartphones are on the precipice of becoming the most common kind of mobile phone bought overall.
In the first quarter of 2013, smartphones accounted for 49.3% of sales of mobile phones worldwide. This is up from 34.8% in the first quarter of 2012, and 44% in the fourth quarter of 2012. On the other hand, sales of feature phones contracted 21.8% in the first quarter of 2013.
“Feature phones users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further, either way the prospect of longer replacement cycles is certainly not a good news for both vendors and carriers looking to move users forward,” says Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta.
Another interesting to note is the resurgence of LG. The Korean company jumped up to third place in the smartphone market and fourth place overall, with Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei rounding off the top five.
Despite the continued fall of of Nokia (it now holds the number 10 spot in the smartphone market) Microsoft managed to gain a percentage point in the smartphone OS wars where it’s poised to overtake BlackBerry as the world’s third most popular OS. That sounds great, but they’ll be fighting for scraps as Android and iOS together now account for nearly 93% of all smartphones sold.