Gartner: iPhone market share set to slip from Q1

Summary:Gartner figures today show that while the iPhone blew all other smartphones out the water in sales, Apple should expect a slowdown in Q1.

Apple may have become the world's largest smartphone vendor late last year, but Gartner believes that the novelty of the iPhone 4S will wear off, and the company's market share will slip.

Close to a quarter of all smartphones sold in the fourth quarter were iPhones, as Apple's market share rose from 15.8 a year earlier, to 23.8 percent. But Gartner's figures come as no surprise. Others had reported Apple's spike in sales last year, amid a Wall Street Journal report that Samsung was "beating Apple" in the sales race.

Apple narrowed its lead over Samsung to 4 percentage points. It was the second-largest vendor of smartphones behind Apple.

The highly anticipated iPhone 5 --- which never was --- helped propel the iPhone 4S into record sales, as consumers quickly realised that another incarnation of the iPhone was around a year away. Gartner says, however, that Apple will continue to sell iPhones en masse but will decline in the first quarter, as consumers become more patient for the next iPhone.

But Apple will not be alone in what was described as a global 'slowdown', as weakening economies begin to hurt the demand.

Meanwhile, Google's Android accounted for over 50 percent of all smartphone sales, up by 30 percent a year ago. While Android continues to dominate, only Apple and Google's Android were the two platforms that grew in marketshare.

In the losers section, LG, Research in Motion, and Sony Ericsson lost out in part to Motorola, which finally got engaged to search giant Google. While the partnership was given the go-ahead by U.S. and EU regulators, the couple have yet to get formally hitched, so to speak.

Nokia, on the other hand, continues to lose market share, falling to 11.7 percent of smartphone sales from 32.3 percent the year before. But the share for its Lumia range of smartphones continue to stagnate, and its other Symbian-based smartphones have slid down the share ladder.

Image source: Gartner.

Related:

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, iPhone, IT Priorities, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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