15 August 2013

Smartphone sales overtake regular mobiles.


Smartphones outsold more basic handsets for the first time ever in the second quarter of 2013, grabbing 51.8 per cent of worldwide mobile sales.


The latest analysis of the market, from data firm Gartner, also shows that Blackberry has dropped behind Microsoft, now the third most popular operating system, losing almost half of its market share over the past year.


Smartphone sales grew by 46.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, eating into sales of so-called feature phones, which fell by 21 per cent year-on-year.  [Smartphones are commonly defined as a device that has built-in applications and can access the Internet.  In contrast, feature phones tend to perform fewer functions and are priced more cheaply.]


Of the 435m handsets sold worldwide last quarter, 225m were smartphones, compared to 210m feature phones.  The highest smartphone growth rates came from Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe, said the data firm.  Analysts reported that the price of entry-level smartphones has come down sharply over the past few months, resulting in a major sales boost.  Additionally, most mobile phone networks are now widening their pre-paid offerings, especially in emerging markets, allowing consumers to limit their bills whilst using features such as email and mobile applications, thus helping to increase the market.


Samsung led the way, dominating almost a third of the market (31.7 per cent) by selling 71.4m handsets, with Apple’s 14.2 per cent putting it in a distant second place.


Smaller competitors LG Electronics, ZTE and Lenovo – which relies on China for more than 95 per cent of sales – made up 13 per cent of the market combined, with the remaining 40 per cent split between the rest of the pack.


Among the operating system providers, Blackberry dropped below Microsoft for the first time, falling into fourth place as its market share fell from 5.2 per cent to just 2.7 per cent since the same time last year. 


The latest blow to the former smartphone giant comes just days after it said it was exploring strategic options for the future of the firm that  include a sale, having seen its market value nosedive to around $5.7bn from more than $80bn at its peak in 2008.


Fellow handset maker Nokia, which has been slow to jump on the smartphone bandwagon after dominating the feature handset market during the early 21st century, saw sales slump further as competition grew.


The Finnish firm sold just 61m handsets, down from 83m a year ago, although sales of its flagship Lumia smartphone range jumped 112.7 per cent on the year as it introduced new models.

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