Samsung And Android On Top As Mobile Phone Growth Slows – Gartner

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Gartner says low demand for feature phones affected growth in all regions except Asia-Pacific

Sales of mobile phones in all regions other than Asia-Pacific declined during the first quarter of 2013 as a 42.9 percent year-on-year increase in sales of smartphones failed to offset decreasing demand for feature phones offset .

According to research firm Gartner, worldwide mobile phone sales totalled nearly 426 million in the period, representing a growth rate of just 0.7 percent.

Sales in the EMEA region fell by 3.6 percent year-on year, while North America and Latin America experience slumps of 9.5 percent and 2.8 percent respectively and the Japanese market contracted by 7.3 percent.

“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,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Manufacturers battle

Samsung Galaxy S4 4Samsung remains the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world with a 30.8 percent share of the market and Gartner expects the Samsung Galaxy S4 to continue the Korean manufacturer’s recent success.

Strong demand in China helped Apple to retain second place with sales of 38.3 million units, while LG became the latest company to hold the number three spot, ahead of ZTE and Huawei.

Smartphone sales accounted for 49.3 percent of all mobile phone sales, with Samsung shifting 100.667 milliion units in total, giving it a commanding 23.6 share in the market.

Nokia is still in second place after selling 63.215 handsets, but its 14.8 percent share is down from 19.7 percent in the same quarter last year. Gartner noted that although increases sales of Lumia smartphones were signs for encouragement at Nokia, it suffered the most from declining demand for feature phones.

Operating system shares

Android increased its lead in the operating system space to 74.4 percent, a year-on-year rise from 56.9 percent, while iOS is second with 18.2 percent. BlackBerry clinged onto third place, but its share more than halved from 6.8 percent to 3 percent.

By contrast, Windows Phone increased its share from 1.9 percent to 1.9 percent. Gupta told TechWeekEurope that he expected this trend to continue as more Windows Phone handsets hit the market.

He added that a number of operating systems in development could have an impact on the market, but not in the short term.

“There are two clear leaders in the OS market and Android’s dominance in the OS market is unshakable,” said Gupta. “With new OSs coming to market such as Tizen, Firefox and Jolla we expect some market share to be eroded but not enough to question Android’s volume leadership.”

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