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

Windows Phone sales growth is outpacing even the fastest growing Android handset makers, but in absolute terms it’s still small
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

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. 

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