The plummeting price of smartphones is leading to an increased uptake of the devices globally, according to Gartner.
Despite flat sales globally of mobile phones for the third quarter of 2014, smartphones grew 20.3 per cent, reaching 301 million units.
The analyst revealed that smartphones accounted for 66 per cent of the total mobile phone market and by 2018, it predicts that nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.
Eastern Europe and MEA achieved the highest growth, with sales mushrooming almost 50 per cent year on year, and of all the mature markets, the US saw an 18.9 per cent increase in sales in Q3, driven by the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
The picture was less rosy for Western Europe, which saw a decline of 5.2 per cent, the third consecutive decline this year.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said: “Sales of feature phones declined 25 per cent in the third quarter of 2014 because the difference in price between feature phones and low-cost Android smartphones is reducing further.”
Gartner also warned that the rise of the Chinese manufacturer cannot be ignored, with three of the top five smartphone vendors being Chinese – Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo – which grew their collective market share by 4.1 percentage points.
“With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too and address the needs of upgrade users that aspire to premium phones, but cannot afford Apple or Samsung high-end products,” added Cozza.
Top players, Samsung and Apple’s combined smartphone share totalled 37 per cent, a seven per cent drop when compared with the previous year.
Cozza said: “The smartphone market is more than ever in flux as more players step up their game in this space.”
In terms of operating systems, Android led the charge with a whopping 83.1 per cent market share, with iOS in second place with 12.7 per cent share. Windows had three per cent of the market, with BlackBerry clinging on with 0.8 per cent of the market, and ‘other OS’ with 0.4 per cent.
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