In the third quarter of 2013, worldwide sales of smartphones accounted for 55 percent of all mobile phones sold during the period, with Samsung (KRX:005935) and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android increasing their lead over Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its iOS mobile-operating system, according to a new report released by Gartner (NYSE:IT).
Although Samsung’s market share was flat in the third quarter of 2013, the South Korean tech giant outshone Apple, whose smartphone market share dropped by 2.2 percentage points from the third quarter of 2012, despite selling almost 6 million more units during the three-month period than it did in the same period last year.
“While the arrival of the new iPhones 5s and 5c had a positive impact on overall sales, such impact could have been greater had they not started shipping late in the quarter,” Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. “While we saw some inventory built up for the iPhone 5c, there was good demand for iPhone 5s with stock out in many markets.”
According to the report, Lenovo (HKG:0992) nearly doubled its sales over last year to become the world's third-largest smartphone vendor for the first time, with sales increasing to almost 13 million units, up 84.5 percent from last year. LG Electronics (KRX:066575) and Huawei rounded out the top five smartphone vendors list with nearly flat growth in their market shares.
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Samsung extended its lead in the overall mobile phone market as well, selling more than one in four phones worldwide in the third quarter of this year. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) also did better than anticipated during the period to remain in second position, reaching 63 million mobile phones in sales, thanks to the popularity of its Lumia and Asha series devices.
While Apple’s market share in the worldwide mobile phone market increased slightly, according to Gartner, the pricing of the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in both mature and emerging markets failed to entice consumers as hoped.
“The price difference between the iPhone 5c and 5s is not enough in mature markets, where prices are skewed by operator subsidies, to drive users away from the top of the line model,” the report said. “In emerging markets, the iPhone 4S will continue to be the volume driver at the low end as the lack of subsidy in most markets leaves the iPhone 5c too highly priced to help drive further penetration.”
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users added up to 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the same period last year, Gartner said, adding that sales are on pace to reach 1.81 billion units by the end of 2013, a 3.4 percent increase from 2012.
Meanwhile, sales of smartphones around the world hit more than 250 million units, up 45.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012.
In the smartphone operating-system market, Android continued to dominate the industry with more than 80 percent of the market's share in the third quarter of 2013. And, while Apple's iOS and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) suffered a drop in their worldwide market shares, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone showed significant growth, albeit from a low base.
“However, the winner of this quarter is Microsoft which grew 123 percent. Microsoft announced the intent to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, which we believe will unify effort and help drive appeal of Windows ecosystem,” Gupta said.