Smartphone sales rose nearly 50% year-on-year across the MENA region in the three months to September, spurred by falling prices and the rise of Chinese manufacturers, says technology research firm Gartner. “The difference in price between feature phones and low-cost Android smartphones is reducing further,” observes Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
Globally, about 301 million smartphones were sold in the third quarter of this year, up 20.3% from 250.3 million sold in the third quarter of 2013, with Gartner expecting annual smartphone sales to total 1.2 billion units. Global feature phone sales declined 25% in the third quarter. Global smartphone sales, however, grew 20%, with the top three Chinese manufacturers achieving the fastest growth. At present, smartphones account for 66% of the total mobile market, while Gartner estimates that smartphones will account for 90% of all phones by 2018.
Samsung continued to lose its market share to Apple and Chinese manufacturers. The Korean firm slipped from 32.1% of the total smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2013 to 24.1% this year. Apple’s market share now stands at 12.7% globally – with sales up by more than a quarter year-on-year. Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo sold more than 46 million smartphones in the third quarter – above Apple’s 38.2 million sales, but below Samsung’s 73.2 million. Android cemented its lead as the most-used platform, with 83.1% of smartphones using the operating system, equivalent to 250 million smartphones.
“Over the holidays, we expect record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but we should not underestimate the Chinese vendors and local brands. Chinese players will continue to look at expanding in overseas emerging markets, including the Middle East,” says Annette Zimmermann, the research director at Gartner.