Changing of the Guard: Smartphone Sales Top Feature Phones for First Time

Mobile phone sales around the globe reached 435 million units in the second quarter of 2013, up 3 percent compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest data released by Gartner. And for the first time, smartphone sales to end users accounted for the majority of mobile phone shipments. There were 225 million smartphones sold in Q2, up 46.5 percent compared to a year ago, versus 210 million feature phones, which declined 21 percent year-on-year.

"Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

2Q13 Units
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Units
2Q12 Market Share (%)
Samsung 71,380.9 31.7 45,603.8 29.7
Apple 31,899.7 14.2
28,935.0 18.8
LG Electronics 11,473.0 5.1 5,827.8 3.8
Lenovo 10,671.4 4.7 4,370.9 2.8
ZTE 9,687.6 4.3 6,331,4 4.1
Others 90,213.6
40.0 62,704.0 40.8
Total 225,326.2 100.0 153,772.9 100.0
Source: Gartner (August 2013)

Samsung deserves a lot of the credit for smartphone sales topping feature phones. The South Korean handset maker shipped 71.38 million units in Q2, up from 45.6 million units in the same quarter a year ago, and now owns a commanding 31.7 percent share of the market. Apple came in a distant second with 31.9 million smartphone shipments, up from 28.9 million units a year ago.

Galaxy S4 Active

It should come as no surprise that Android is the operating system to beat. Android accounts for 79 percent of all smartphones around the world, up nearly 15 percent from a year ago, while Apple is found on 14.2 percent of all handsets, down from 18.8 percent a year ago. In a distant third is Microsoft, which skipped ahead of BlackBerry to claim a 3.3 percent share of the market.