Mobile phones powered by the Android operating system dominated the market in the first quarter of 2013 while Samsung topped the list of manufacturers, according to data released by research firm Gartner.
Gartner says Google’s Android powered 74.4 percent of all smartphones sold in Q1 2013. In comparison, Apple’s iOS accounted for a market share of 18.2 percent. Android’s market share rose during the first three months of the year while that of iOS fell by 4.3 percentage points.
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Samsung led phone makers with a 31 percent share in worldwide smartphone sales in the first quarter, which was up from 28% in the same period in 2012. Apple suffered a drop in market share and came in a distant second on the list with an 18 percent market share.
In the overall sales category, which includes low-tech, basic handsets, Samsung again led the pack by notching up a 24 percent share of the market.
The No. 2 spot in this category was occupied by Nokia, despite suffering a drop of 4.9 percentage points in its market share over Q1 2012 mainly due to a steep decline in feature phone sales.
Apple came in third with 9 percent of the worldwide mobile phone market. According to Gartner, Apple was able to burn some of the inventory built at the end of 2012 as the iPhone 5 was rolling out in more markets and as the company prepared for the Chinese New Year.
According to the research firm, China is a key contributor to overall sales for Apple. Analysts saw evidence of this in the first quarter of 2013, when sales reached close to 7 million units in mainland China alone thanks to the lower price of the iPhone 4.
Gartner said that mobile phone sales to end users worldwide have totaled nearly 426 million units in the first quarter, while smartphone sales worldwide totaled 210 million units in the same period, up 42.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
The Asia-Pacific region showed growth in mobile phone sales during the quarter, with a 6.4 percent year-on-year increase while sales of mobile phones in Europe, Middle East and Africa declined 3.6 percent. The mobile phone market in North America and Latin America fell 9.5 percent and 3.8 percent respectively, while Japan saw mobile phone sales drop by 7.3 percent.
“More than 226 million mobile phones were sold to end-users in Asia-Pacific in the first quarter of 2013, which helped the region increase its share of global mobile phones to 53.1 percent year-on-year,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In addition, China saw its mobile phone sales increase 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and its sales represented 25.7 percent of global mobile phone sales, up nearly 2 percent year-on-year."