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Smartphones have been around for a good few years now, but there’s no sign that their growing popularity is on the wane. In fact, they now account for 66% of all mobile phones worldwide and are on track to see sales of 1.2 billion units for the year.
Today Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, published its Q3 for how mobile devices did globally. The report claims that 301 million smartphones were sold in the third quarter, up by 20% compared with figures from a year ago. Apple and Samsung’s combined smartphone share totaled 37%, down by seven percent from the same period a year ago.
China’s Xiaomi, which has seen troubles in India after it was banned, has managed to thrust itself into the top five for the first time with a sharp rise compared with over a year ago. Gartner says it experienced the highest growth of any vendor this quarter up 336% “driven by strong performance in China where it became market leader.” Samsung continues to decline.
iPhone 6 sales increased Apple share up to 38 million of the market. The other smartphone that has appeared in the report is Huawei. It claimed a small part of the share, moving up to the number three spot, selling 16 million devices.
Though Samsung’s share has declined, it still managed to sell 73-million smartphones in the third quarter, claiming 24.4% share of the market. That said, that’s about eight percent lower and 7-million devices fewer than it managed a year ago.
Xiaomi’s sales of 16-million smartphones for a 5.2% share of the market means that it’s up nearly four percentage points over a year ago, having sold 3.6-million units around the same time last year.
The analysts at Gartner say that: “From a regional perspective, emerging markets exhibited some of the highest growths ever recorded with Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa achieving the highest increase in the third quarter of 2014, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50% year-over-year”.
Roberta Cozza, Gartner director, offers this as the one of the reasons why Chinese vendors, who began to sell low-cost Android-based handsets are doing so well: “With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too and address the needs of upgrade users that aspire to premium phones, but cannot afford Apple or Samsung high-end products,” Cozza notes. “The smartphone market is more than ever in flux as more players step up their game in this space.”
In the US, Apple saw an 18.9% increase in shipments, aided by sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. Gartner predicts that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will continue to aid Apple in its rise but Gartner also foresees Chinese local brands putting up a fight.
“Over the holidays we expect record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but we should not underestimate the Chinese vendors and local brands,” says Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. “Chinese players will continue to look at expanding in overseas emerging markets. In Europe prepaid country markets and attractive lost-cost LTE phones will also offer key opportunities for these brands.”
Android’s market share is now at 83.1% on sales of 250 million units. Apple follows some way behind in second place, whilst Windows and BlackBerry continue to decline.
The same report reveals that feature phone sales are down by 25% over a year ago.