Smartphone sales grew over 20 per cent in the July-September quarter, 2014, on the back of strong growth in emerging markets, research firm Gartner said. Given the fast pace of smartphone sales growth and declining preference for feature phones, Gartner estimates that nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones by 2018.
Gartner expects sales of smartphones to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014. "Sales of feature phones declined 25 per cent in the third quarter of 2014 because the difference in price between feature phones and low-cost Android smartphones is reducing further," Gartner Research Director Roberta Cozza said.
However, sales of smartphones to end users grew 20.3 per cent to reach 301 million units, she added. Emerging markets exhibited some of the highest growths ever recorded with Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa registering the highest increase in the third quarter of 2014, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50 per cent year-over-year.
Among the mature markets, the US achieved the highest growth at 18.9 per cent, fostered by the launch of the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus. Western Europe saw a decline of 5.2 per cent, the third consecutive decline this year.
Samsung continued to lead the market but its share fell from 32.1 per cent in July-September 2013 to 24.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2014. Apple (12.7 per cent), Huawei (5.3 per cent) and Xiaomi (5.2 per cent) followed in the list.
"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 said.
In the smartphone OS market, Android continued to lead the market with 83.1 per cent share, followed by iOS (12.7 per cent), Windows (3 per cent) and BlackBerry (0.8 per cent) in the said quarter. Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 455.8 million
units in the third quarter of 2014 and were flat compared with the same period in 2013.
Mobile phone sales were up in all regions except Latin America (-7.4 per cent), Western Europe (-13.5 per cent) and Japan (-1.8 per cent). Samsung had 20.6 per cent share of the overall mobile phone market, followed by Microsoft Devices (9.5 per cent), Apple (8.4 per cent), LG (4.2 per cent) and Huawei (3.6 per cent).