2013: The year smartphone sales overtook the rest, says Gartner
By Digital News Asia February 17, 2014
- Smartphones accounted for 57.6% of total sales in Q4 2013
- Sales of Android phones to approach one billion units in 2014
WORLDWIDE sales of smartphones to end-users totalled 968 million units in 2013, an increase of 42.3% from 2012 (see Table 1), according to Gartner Inc.
Sales of smartphones accounted for 53.6% of overall mobile phone sales in 2013, and exceeded annual sales of feature phones for the first time, the research firm said in a statement.
Smartphone sales grew 36% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and accounted for 57.6% of overall mobile phone sales in the fourth quarter, up from 44% year over year (see Table 2 below).
This increasing contribution of smartphones was led by growth in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe, where smartphone sales grew by more than 50% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
With a 166.8% increase in the fourth quarter of 2013, India exhibited the highest smartphone sales growth among the countries tracked by Gartner, and Latin America saw the strongest growth among all regions (96.1%) in the fourth quarter.
China also contributed significantly to worldwide smartphone sales as sales grew 86.3% in 2013.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, mobile phone sales in mature regions fell due to weaker demand.
“Mature markets face limited growth potential as the markets are saturated with smartphone sales, leaving little room for growth with declining feature phone market and a longer replacement cycle,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.
“Lack of compelling hardware innovation has further exacerbated replacement cycles for high-end smartphones in 2013 because consumers don’t find enough reasons to upgrade,” he added.
Samsung: While Samsung's smartphone share was up in 2013 it slightly fell by 1.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013. This was mainly due to a saturated high-end smartphone market in developed regions, Gartner said.
It remains critical for Samsung to continue to build on its technology leadership at the high end. It would also need to build a clearer value proposition around its midrange smartphones, defining simpler user interfaces, pushing the right features, as well as seizing the opportunity of bringing innovations to stand out beyond price in this growing segment.
Apple: Strong sales of the iPhone 5s and continued strong demand for the 4s in emerging markets helped Apple see record sales of 50.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013.
“However, Apple's share in smartphone declined both in the fourth quarter of 2013 and in 2013, but growth in sales helped to raise share in the overall mobile phone market,” said Anshul.
“With Apple adding NTT Docomo in Japan for the first time in September 2013 and signing a deal with China Mobile during the quarter, we are already seeing an increased growth in the Japanese market and we should see the impact of the last deal in the first quarter of 2014,” he added.
Huawei: Huawei smartphone sales grew 85.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 to maintain the No 3 spot year over year.
The company has moved quickly to align its organisation to focus on the global market. Huawei's overseas expansion delivered strong results in the fourth quarter of 2013, with growth in the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.
Lenovo: Lenovo saw smartphone sales in 2013 increase by 102.3% and by 63.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013. Lenovo's Motorola acquisition from Google will give Lenovo an opportunity to expand within the Americas,” Anshul said.
“The acquisition will also provide Lenovo with patent protection and allow it to expand rapidly across the global market.
“We believe this deal is not just about entering into the United States, but more about stepping out of China,” he added.
Sales of high-end smartphones will slow as increasing sales of low- and mid-price smartphones in high-growth emerging markets will shift the product mix to lower-end devices. This will lead to a decline in average selling price and a slowdown in revenue growth.
In the smartphone OS (operating system) market, Android’s share grew 12 percentage points to reach 78.4% in 2013 (see Table 3). The Android platform will continue to benefit from this, with sales of Android phones in 2014 approaching the billion mark.
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 1.8 billion units in 2013, an increase of 3.5% from 2012 (see Table 4).
“While the top three mobile manufacturers are dominating the global mobile phone market, their share collectively fell in the fourth quarter of 2013 and yearly as Chinese and regional brands continue to raise their share,” said Anshul.
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