2013 will go down in history as the year of inevitable change in the mobile industry. Yes, according to the latest report by Gartner, the Information Technology research and advisory company, annual smartphone sales surpassed the sales of feature phones, for the first time in 2013.
I still remember the day I got hold of my Nokia 3120c. Having access to mobile internet and video calling was a huge thing for me back in 2008. BlackBerry devices were being used by an elite group of people. iPhone was the new kid and costed a fortune. Android was not a thing yet. Five years later, it’s a different story. According to gartner’s report, smartphones accounted for 53.6 percent (968 million units) of the overall mobile phone sales in 2013 (1.8 billion units). Compared to 2012, 968 million units is an increase of 42.3 percent, which is a remarkable change. Smartphones accounted for 57.6 percent of the total mobile phone sales in the fourth quarter of 2013.
According to the report, this high sales record became possible with the increasing growth in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe. India exhibited the highest smartphone sales growth among the countries tracked by Gartner. China also contributed significantly to worldwide smartphone sales in 2013.
Samsung took the number one spot as the vendor with highest number of mobile phone sales, with 31 percent of market share. But it is also noted that that the competitiveness in the high-end device market is on the rise and Samsung faces a huge challenge. Apple took the second spot, thanks to strong sales of iPhone 5S. Huawei was placed third in the list. The manufacturer has shown strong sales records in Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific region.
In terms of mobile phone operating systems, Android once again showed the dominance by taking more than 78 percent of the share (see statista.com article for full details here). This was also confirmed by a recent report from IDC. It is also notable that Android share for 2012 stood at little over 65 percent. In 2013, Apple’s iOS took the second spot with 15.6 percent of market share.
Even though there’s no surprise in that, it should be noted that iOS had around 19 percent of market share during 2012. With the huge challenge, Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS managed to end up at the third spot with just over 3 percent of share. It’s highly unlikely that 2014 will see any huge change in the report. But we can expect to see growth for Windows Phone OS with new high and low end hardware options. Even though 2013 was sort of a disappointing year for Mozilla, we may see some good performance from Firefox OS too.