Gartner published their quarterly report on the state of cellphones, smartphones, manufacturers and Operating Systems for the end of the third quarter 2014. There were really no big surprises – total overall worldwide sales of mobile phones (includes full-featured and smartphones) was relatively unchanged from last year to this year with 455,706,500 versus 455,784,700 respectively. Android continues to dominate over iOS, both slight gainers, while Windows, BlackBerry and 'Others' all losing ground. Samsung was the 'biggest loser' in worldwide sales – Apple, Huawei small gainers, with Xiaomi a huge gainer.
It is no surprise that the sale of feature phones continue to drop – 25-percent over last year – as the price differentiation continues to disappear as Android smartphone prices continue to decline. In the third quarter of 2014, smartphone sales accounted for 66-percent of total mobile sales and Gartner predicts that by 2018, nine out of ten phones sold will be smartphones. It does not hurt that the carriers all push the data hungry smartphones over a relatively small offering of feature phones.
Regionally, the emerging markets had some of the highest growths ever recorded with Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa's smartphone sales growing almost 50-percent over last year. In the matured markets, the U.S. had the highest growth rate in the third quarter with an 18.8-percent increase…mostly fostered by the release of the new iPhone. Western Europe had its third consecutive decline this year at 5.2-percent during the third quarter. Gartner expects the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to have record sales over the holidays and worldwide, the Chinese vendors will continue to expand in emerging markets and by the end of 2014, they expect smartphone sales to hit 1.2 billion.
To show the strength of the Chinese manufacturers, three of the top five smartphone vendors – Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo – are Chinese companies that grew their collective market share by 4.1-percent in the third quarter. They did very well in the high-end devices as customers seeking to upgrade cannot afford a Samsung or Apple device. Although Samsung and Apple combined to hold 37-percent of the market share during the third quarter, they were down 7-percent from last year as the Chinese manufacturers continue to grow.
Samsung's overall sales declined in the third quarter, but their biggest hit was with feature phone sales, especially in China, where they saw a 28.6-percent decline from last year. Apple sales grew 26-percent in the third quarter with the introduction of the new iPhone 6 models with larger displays and Gartner expects them to see their largest ever fourth quarter sales. Xiaomi experienced its highest growth in the third quarter of 336-percent as it became the market leader in China.
Overall, things are looking great for the Android operating system, as it continues to grow and dominate the worldwide market with over 83-percent versus almost 13-percent for iOS. Apple sales with be strong through Christmas with their new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The Chinese manufacturers will continue their dominance in the emerging markets and Samsung will continue to lose ground there. It will be interesting to see Samsung's fourth quarter figures as their new Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge sales will show up. 2015 promises to be an exciting year as HTC, LG, Sony and Samsung all release their new flagship devices. If Samsung can duplicate its Galaxy S4 sales with its new Galaxy S6, it could be a great year for them.