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Smartphones Sales (Finally) Beat Feature Phone Sales

Posted on 2.12.2014

A new report from Gartner reveals that smartphones sales finally beat sales of feature phones in 2013.

According to the report, worldwide smartphone sales to end users totaled 968 million units in 2013, which is an increase of 42.3 percent from 2012. Moreover, smartphone sales accounted for 53.6 percent of overall mobile phone sales in 2013, finally surpassing the sales of feature phones for the first time. These stats further prove how important it is for brands to have a mobile presence, as adoption of smartphones is at an all-time high.

It is also important to note that smartphone sales had a particularly good 4th quarter to close out 2013, accounting for 57.6 percent of mobile phone sales – which is up 44 percent year over year (YoY). Gartner notes that smartphone sales were led by growth in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe. Moreover, mobile phone sales in mature regions actually fell in the fourth quarter due to weaker demand.

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“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."

In 2014, Gartner expects smartphones to continue to drive sales, with more manufacturers focusing on low-cost smartphones. The report also predicts that sales of high-end smartphones will slow down as sales of low- and mid-price smartphones increase in emerging markets. This, however, could lead to a decline in average selling price and a slowdown in revenue growth.

The report also reveals Android’s share of the smartphone OS market grew by 12 percentage points in 2013, reaching 78.4 percent. Conversely, iOS devices made up just 15.6 percent of the market share at the end of 2013, despite an increase of units sold compared to 2012.

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