Smartphones have outsold more basic handsets worldwide for the first time, with demand for the high-tech devices surging in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and eastern Europe.
Handset makers sold 435 million mobile phones in the second quarter of the year, according to data published by research firm Gartner on Wednesday, with smartphones accounting for 225 million of those purchased.
With the telephone increasingly replacing laptop and desktop computers as the means by which populations around the world access the Internet, sales to end-users of smartphones increased 74 percent compared with the same period last year in the Asia-Pacific, and 56 percent in Latin America. In eastern Europe, 32 percent more of the devices were sold.
“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,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said.
Samsung reinforced its leading position, selling over 71 million Internet-enabled handsets in the three months to 30 June this year, compared with nearly 56 million in the same period last year. Its market share by units sold grew from 30 percent to nearly 32 percent. Apple increased sales from 29 million to 32 million, but its market share fell from 19 percent to 14 percent.
Lenovo, the Chinese manufacturer best known for making personal computers, made a determined push into mobile by more than doubling its unit sales — from 4 million to nearly 11 million. This allowed Lenovo (聯想) to take fourth spot after South Korean rival LG Electronics in the global smartphone vendor rankings.
However, Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market, with sales in China representing 95 percent of the total. “It remains challenging for Lenovo to expand outside China as it has to strengthen its direct channel, as well as its relationships with communications service providers,” Gupta said.
Sony’s well-received Xperia smartphone range helped the Japanese technology giant sell over 2 million more handsets -— both smartphones and basic “feature” phones — than last year, nudging its market in mobiles to 2.2 percent from 1.7 percent. Huawei (華為) sold 1 million more phones, but its all-mobiles market share remained at 2.6 percent.
Nokia retained its position behind Samsung as the second-largest manufacturer globally, but its share is now 14 percent, behind Samsung’s nearly 25 percent.