Windows Phone grows, but so do non-Samsung Android vendors

Windows Phone grows, but so do non-Samsung Android vendors

Summary: Windows Phone sales growth is outpacing even the fastest growing Android handset makers, but in absolute terms it’s still small


According to new smartphone sales figures from Gartner, 80 percent of smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter were Android, extending the platform’s dominance from a year ago when 72 percent sold were Android.

In all, consumers bought 250 million smartphones in the third quarter, up 45 percent year-on-year, meaning that smartphones now account for 55 percent of the 455 million mobile phones sold.

Android and overall smartphone leader by sales, Samsung, saw its sales for the quarter climb from 55 million a year ago to 80 million, however its share of smartphone sales was stagnant over the period at 32 percent, according to Gartner.

The story is similar for Apple. It sold 30m iPhones this quarter compared to 24m a year ago, but saw its share slip from 14 percent to 12 percent, meaning the gap also widened between iOS and Android. Gartner notes though that Apple could have sold more if it had shipped the new iPhone 5c and 5s earlier in the quarter.

The real movers and shakers were Lenovo, LG and Huawei, according to Gartner’s numbers, though as IDC noted in its third quarter report, these vendors are still on single-digit shares, while many are still below one percent.

Still, small shares are not meaningless and put them well ahead of Lumia devices by Nokia that are soon to become Microsoft's own Windows Phone Lumia.

Lenovo, the standout in the quarter, saw smartphone sales rise year-on-year by 84 percent from 6.9m to 12.9m units with 95 percent of sales coming from China, which now accounts for 40 percent of all Android sales, driven by Samsung and local brands Lenovo, Yulong and rising star Xiaomi.

Similarly, LG grew from 6.9m to 12.8m, while Huawei grew from 7.8m to 11.7m.

Windows Phone, the platform "winner of this quarter", as Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta put it, grew by 123 percent to 8.9 million, 8.8 of which were Nokia Lumia smartphones, highlighting the weakness in demand for Windows Phones by HTC, Samsung and Huawei. 

Despite the impressive growth in device sales, that it's only Nokia means Windows Phone share of operating systems grew year-on-year just over one percent to 3.6 percent -- which is still well short of the 15 percent that Microsoft, at the announcement of its €5.4bn offer for Nokia, said it hopes Windows Phone will reach by 2018. 

Topics: Samsung, Android, iOS, 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
  • 10 days

    Does not a trend make.

    Wonder what will happen when Q4 shows iOS's increased market share?
    • I wonder what will happen

      when Q4 shows no iOS's increased market share?
      NoMore MicrosoftEver
      • I know what will happen

        Windows Phone will plummet over the next 12 months.

        Nokia had some reputation as a phone maker. However, now Microsoft has bought out Nokia's phone assets, and the Windows Phones will be rebranded for Microsoft (and the Nokia badges removed), there will be no goodwill left.

        Microsoft has been unable to handle any phone, tablet or mobile device. It has failed every time.

        Those sales, already tiny and insignificant, will plummet.
        • Relax, Apple stock is so overheated that it is going to plummet as well.

          We are coming to the epoch when consumers don;t pay much attention to OS any-more, they choose what they like. If required application exists for platform of the phone they like, they are going to buy device. So all these debates about best OS are going to be useless quite soon and stay for professionals. Consumer electronics market is driven by fashion, first of all. And Windows phone is not so bad.
        • Really?

          I love these people who have never used a Windows Phone, yet profess knowledge of the device.

          I've been using Windows phones since Windows Phone 7, and I can tell you that it's a great interface that far outpaces the "gloppy" Android OS and tiresome, boring, ancient iPhone interface. The phones are fast, uncluttered and well-organized.

          Windows 8 Phones appeal to business-users, largely because they come with Office support... REAL Office support.

          It syncs with your Skydrive and opens all of your Microsoft Office files without having to load a bunch of "workaround" apps.

          iPhones are great for teenage girls snapping selfies at the prom, or retirees who sit for hours nursing a coffee at Starbucks while reading ... but for those of us who need to read our work-files without search for (and paying for) third-party apps, Windows phones work best.
          • Windows Phone

            Absolutely right. Windows Phone is by far the best OS; as you say, it's fast, uncluttered, and uncomplicated. It syncs seamlessly with my W8 PCs and my Surface Pro. Android is a direct response to the Apple phenomenon, but won't, ultimately proceed much beyond that, and Windows remains as the only practical choice, IMHO...
        • Microsoft and Mobile

          Their Surface Pros are a big hit where I work. I've literally had users ask me to swap their iPads for Surface Pros because they said they "want to be able to do real work."

          Anyhow, I don't see Microsoft ruining the Lumia phones. Microsoft certainly has its flaws, but I've been buying and selling its hardware for years and have never had a complaint about it.
          • Thank You

            ParrotHead_FL, good name because you are parroting the Microsoft marketing line: "You can only do 'real work' on Microsoft tablets". Of course, I was wondering how long the "real work" myth would take to come up in this thread.

            The assumption is that you need Microsoft Office to "do real work". Funny, our manufacturing business does a LOT of "real work" without any Microsoft products - it's only the office workers that use Microsoft Office. The manufacturers and engineers and logistics could do with any email package and any word processor and any spreadsheet, since those products are secondary to the real work done in our business. We don't use Office to control our inventory. We don't use Office to manage our transportation. We don't use Office to design our products. We don't use Office to build those products. And yet a LOT of real work gets done.
          • Not My Words

            Those weren't my words--they were the words of the person who came to my office asking for a Surface Pro. Just an ordinary user who did this completely unprompted.

            Many of the applications we run that are core to our operation are only available on the Windows platform.
        • not sure if sales will plumet but...

          removing the nokia branding is a dumbass decision.
  • Windows Phone grows, but so do non-Samsung Android vendors

    Microsoft Windows Phone has a smaller share than some of the other manufacturers but that is the beauty of growth. You keep doing it until your big and tall or in Microsoft's case a higher % number. It just keeps growing, the momentum is there. Yes the growth was largely dependent on Nokia. They were the only ones to go all in with Microsoft Windows Phone and make it a great experience. The others only halfheartedly put any thought into it. They didn't realize Microsoft Windows Phone's potential and now with year over year growth will regret it. That is lost sales for them. Soon Microsoft Windows Phone will be chipping away at android's market.
    • I agree 100%

      Microsoft has developed a slow-but-steady strategy of unifying their desktop, tablet and phone platforms. They've given business-users a "system", rather than a fragmented group of applications that were designed piecemeal.

      To be sure, there have been bumps, hitches and glitches; but in the end, Microsoft will emerge as the leader in phone software.

      Remember when Blackberry ruled the mobile world? We were all sure that they would never be in last place.
    • You nailed it.

      If other hardware manufacturers had put in the effort Nokia did, there's no telling where the Windows Phone platform would be now. I'm not sure if the other guys will see the potential and jump on board, though, or if Microsoft will have to keep taking charge of hardware for the platform.
    • Gardening Tip For MS

      To get something to grow you have to use a lot of manure, which they seem to have bags of it.
      Alan Smithie
  • 123% of noyjing is ... nothing

    The entire wp market share doesn;t amount to even half of Android's growth in the past yeat. When the Nokia brand is dropped, and Europeans can't buy 'Nokia' anymore, wp's marketshare will shrivel.
    Jan L.
    • it's more than just Europeans buying

      and the Nokia name isn't being dropped - keep up with the press won't you!
      Paul Smith-Keitley
  • If Nokia had gone Android ... and not burned it's China presence ...

    It's a common internet=echo-chamber claim that if Nokia had decided on Android instead of Windows Phone, they wouldn't have been able to grow.

    Yet, when you look at FACTS, instead of regurged biases - this past quarter, there were FIVE COMPANIES that weren't making any Android phones in Feb/2011, that now sell more Android phones that Nokia does Lumias (in spite of Nokia being the ONLY one selling Lumias). Six, if you count Yulong, which basically tied Nokia.

    Now, add in that Nokia had incredibly excellent vendor relations in China, till Elop burned those with the "burning platform" decision. Android is growing hugely in China (something like mid-80s percent). And Nokia could have been the primus entre pares in that realm.

    Such a wasted opportunity.

    p.s. anyone thinking MS will do really well with their Nokia purchase needs to consider the role of carrier relations - and think about China, Africa, Latin America, and MS's relationships in those regions already.
    • Interesting Argument

      So your argument is that Nokia could've differentiated itself more by jumping into the Android market with those five/six other companies than by using Windows Phone? How do you figure?
  • 10%

    If Windows Phone can hit the magical 10% then the platform will be fine. Remember, Apple survived for decades on 10% of the Personal Computer market. 10% is a viable figure, especially when it means 10% of a market of maybe 2 billion units.
  • One glaring dumb-ass comment within the article...

    "...well short of the 15 percent that Microsoft... hopes Windows Phone will reach by 2018".

    No "chit", Sherlock!

    The prediction was for 2018, and the MS comment was barely a month ago. If just a few weeks later, MS was to have been anywhere close to the 2018 prediction, then, it would have been a miracle greater than Christ rising from his tomb after 3 days.

    So, why not be practical and intelligent, and see where the figures are when 2018 rolls around. I expect that MS could be even higher than 15% of the smartphone market, and perhaps a couple of years earlier than MS's prediction.