Global smartphone sales growth slows down in Q3: Samsung's first quarter on top, Apple's rare sequential iPhone loss

Global smartphone sales growth slows down in Q3: Samsung's first quarter on top, Apple's rare sequen
The third quarter of the year is long over and this means that it's time for a look back at the stats. Phone sales continued to grow globally with big demand from emerging markets, while smartphone growth slowed down, especially in Western markets, where anticipation of the next iPhone was felt.

Still global sales of phones amounted to 440.5 million units in the third trimester of the year, up 5.6% year-on-year. Somewhat surprisingly, this quarter feature phone sales surged, driven by more affordable models and dual-SIM devices. 

Nokia retained its leading position despite losing market share. The company took 23.9% of the global sales pie, with signs of improvement in the third quarter after a stressful decline in the second trimester. Nokia has introduced a number of affordable dual-SIM devices that have enjoyed popularity in developing markets. Regions such as Pacific Asia, the Middle East and Africa registered booming demand for feature phones as well.

When it comes to smartphones, though, Samsung enjoyed its first quarter at the top of the list. Samsung's Galaxy family and specific models like the Galaxy S II in its different flavors, were a big part of that success. Apple registered a rare sequential loss in shipped smartphones in Q3, as it was finally hit by iPhone 4S anticipation, but expectations are for the company to quickly recover after the launch of the new device.

"Some consumers held off upgrading in the third quarter because they were waiting for promotions on other new high-end models that were launched in the run-up to the fourth quarter holiday season," Roberta Cozza of Gartner said. "Other consumers were waiting for a rumored new iPhone and associated price cuts on older iPhone models; this affected U.S. sales particularly."

Generally, the smartphone market grew on a quick increase in sales in China and Russia that made up for tepid sales in Western markets.

On the platform end of the spectrum, Android continued enjoying an almost undisturbed reign at the top. With a market share of 52.5%, the platform is the clear smartphone leader, followed by Symbian and iOS ranking a distant second and third. 

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"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," Cozza added.

Interestingly, Samsung's bada OS continues to sell better than Microsoft's Windows Phone, which remains a marginal sixth. Microsoft placed its chip on the Mango push, which is expected to show in the last quarter of the year, so that's something we'll be closely following next quarter.

Do you find any surprises in the report and what will the future bring in your opinion? Don't hesitate to drop your two cents in the comments below.

source: Gartner

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