Lumia 520 extends lead as most popular Windows Phone, as Nokia takes 90 percent of the market

Lumia 520 extends lead as most popular Windows Phone, as Nokia takes 90 percent of the market

Summary: Affordable is proving to be the winning formula for Windows Phone, with the 520 not only dominating but extending its lead on Microsoft's mobile platform.


For all of Nokia's efforts to promote its high-end and hero devices, it's still the humble Lumia 520 that's proving the biggest driver of Windows Phone uptake.

The Lumia 520, already thought to be the most widely-used Lumia device, has extended its lead as the most popular Windows Phone device, according to the latest Windows Phone share breakdown from advertising network Ad Duplex.

November numbers from Ad Duplex show that the Lumia 520 added 3.3 percent to its share of Windows Phone market, now accounting for 26.5 percent worldwide, followed by the Lumia 920 and Lumia 620 with 8.8 percent and 8.6 percent rise since October respectively.

2013-11-28 10.42.43 am
Worldwide Windows Phone market share. Image: AdDuplex

In the US, where Nokia has been expending more effort tying up promotional deals with carriers, the T-Mobile Lumia 521 dominates the Windows Phone market. The 520 variant has 22.8 percent US share ahead of the Verizon Lumia 822 with 13.3 percent and the AT&T Lumia 920 with 12.1 percent. HTC's 8X accounts for 10.3 percent.

The story is similar in the UK, where the Lumia 520 has added eight percent to its share and now accounts for 28.2 percent of Windows Phone devices in use.

Nokia doesn't break out specific sales figures for each of its Lumia products but in October it announced record Lumia shipments of 8.8 million for the third quarter, which it put down to down to strong demand for the Lumia 520. 

The continued ascent of the Lumia 520 and arrival of other Lumia devices has squeezed HTC's 8X out of the top 10 Windows Phone models worldwide. At tenth spot with 3.1 percent in October, the HTC 8X was eclipsed in November by the 4.7-inch screen Lumia 625, which accounts for 2.9 percent of all Windows Phones.

Looking solely at the 21 available Windows Phone 8 devices, the Lumia 520 accounts for 35 percent worldwide, followed by the Lumia 920 and 620, with just over 11 percent each. In all, Nokia now holds 90 percent of the Windows Phone market, while HTC's 8X and 8S together account for seven percent. Meanwhile Samsung's Ativ S Neo and Huawei's W2 account for 1.8 percent and 1.3 percent respectively. All 21 phones made up 3.6 percent of the 261 million smartphones sold in the third quarter, according to IDC.  

Or, to put it another way, when Microsoft takes ownership of Nokia's devices business early next year, it will be almost the entirety of the Windows Phone ecosystem.

Further reading

Topics: Smartphones, Microsoft, Nokia, Windows Phone

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Sure seems hard to compete with Nokia...

    Especially since they don't have to pay the license fees...

    In a year or so, there won't be anyone making Windows phones.
    • They do have to pay a licensing fee.

      as a matter of fact, do a little searching will show that a blog was written right here stating that fact.

      In a year or so, there won't be any ABMer's without a selective memory....
      • After summing everything Nokia gets money from MS

        A quote from a Nokia report:
        However, in 2013 the amount of the platform support payments is expected to slightly exceed the total amount of the minimum software royalty commitment payments, thus the net cash flows are still expected to be slightly in our favor.
    • You Already Received One Correction

      I'll point out that since Google bought Motorola Mobile, in theory, the Android side of the business has a special relationship akin to the Microsoft-Nokia pre-acquisition one and exactly like the assumed post-acquisition one.

      In practical effect, Google can't play any game that irritates Samsung. If Amazon could fork Android, then we can safely guess Samsung could as well.

      One of the things that complicated the viability of Symbian as a platform product was that other manufacturers thought Nokia had first call to its improvements. Ironically, internally Nokia had folks asking the question why should the company pay to improve Symbian when its competitors would get the benefits at no cost.

      Then there was Meego, a project shared between Intel and Nokia. Can we see the obvious hiccup? Yep. The customers were on the ARM architecture which Intel declines to use. Intel is BFFs with Microsoft and there might have been a stern memo or two. (Intel writing back "Oh yeah? Well where's Windows 7's support for our Atom processor?!?") Meego came from Maemo and one is tempted to think about Maemo Memos.

      Meego had its conceptual fans and a life I would call desultory. After Elop jumped off the burning platform clutching the Windows Phone life preserver, the Linux Foundation choppered in and winched up Meego.

      And in 2011, Meego was cancelled by the Linux Foundation in favor of Tizen. Wikipedia informs me that Meego does live on as a fork called Mer which has been picked up by a Finnish startup called Jolla, rebranded Sailfish OS and product might be available now.

      No doubt somewhere, someone is thinking about Mer, but holding back because Jolla gets first taste of secret sauce.
  • Interesting

    Good that Elop pushed hard for a wider range of prices to capture market share from others. While it may have cannibalized sales of its own products, Nokia has nowhere to go but up, which is more than anyone can say of many Android phone manufacturers outside of Samsung. Blackberry isn't even in the conversation anymore.
    • Alternate Viewpoint

      Now we see why Nokia fired Elop and left the business. After all that money developing high-end product, it's the low-cost, low-profit model that thrives within a subset of the market.

      (And here's where I criticize myself for being overly simplistic. Let's say one has to sell 10 520s to get the profit of one 920. As long as one sells every 920 and 520 one can make, it all works out. Market share is a number that needs contextualization before it becomes illustrative.)
      • From q2 to q3 Nokia smartphones division lost more money

        So the dominance of 520 is good to build market share but is hurting Nokia profit.
        The holiday season will be for sure the biggest quarter, but in the end net profit will be far from great for Nokia - at this moment they are probably more interested in gaining share - very normal IMO. The risk is that brands need flagship devices to improve brand awareness, and Nokia is not selling their top devices.
        • Really?

          If you look at android sales ...
          they have a very similar sales distribution.

          People who bag the low end are somewhat deluded...
          the 520 may make no more than a asha but the monetization long term is with
          the 520.
          viability is in the numbers
  • Big fish, little pond

    Saying Nokia is the king of Windows Phone makers is almost like saying Apple is king of iPhone makers. Duh. Nobody else wants to make Windows Phones. Microsoft bought Nokia. They don't sell very well. BTW, does Nokia make a slider-style phone? Seems odd, since Microsoft's whole "advantage" with the Surface line is that they include keyboards and therefore are more "productive."
  • So...

    So the Lumia 520 has 25% of 10% of the market...
  • So what all this is saying is...

    That the pitiful takeup to date on WinPhone is based primarily on their former captive partner and soon-to-be subsidiary Nokia, once the 800-pound gorilla in mobile. Even with that backing they still barely beat out the walking-dead (apologies to Kirkman) Blackberry in the overall marketplace.

    What does this say about the future prospects once Nokia is assimilated? A single-vendor product with minimal adoption, and abandonment by third parties for lack of sales? Between this and Surface v1, most businesses would be showing their execs the door. Oh wait...
    • Could be true...

      However, Windows Phone has shown to be an attractive platform, specially with the newer high end Nokias. It might takeoff once the Android and iOS fans start to look for something new. People gets bored quickly when they live with the same thing everyday. Maybe it won't happen if people takes into account the already purchased apps. It's not an easy marketplace to compete....