smartphones

Samsung leads phone sales in third quarter, Gartner says

Samsung outsold Nokia and Apple in worldwide mobile device sales in the third quarter this year, according to a Gartner report this week.

Samsung sold 98 million phones in Q3, an increase of 18.6 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. That gives it 22.9 percent market share in the mobile phones overall.

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Samsung widened its lead over Apple in smartphone sales despite both companies selling more in Q3 year-on-year. Samsung sold 55 million smartphones in the quarter, while Apple sold 23.6 million devices in Q3. Samsung now controls 32.5 percent of the smartphone market, while Apple owns 14 percent.

Analysts have also pointed to Samsung as having the top-selling smartphone this quarter with the Galaxy S3.

While Nokia beat Apple for total mobile phones sales with 82 million sold in Q3, the company sold only 7.2 million smartphones. That places it well behind Samsung and Apple on smartphones and number seven overall in smartphone rankings this quarter.

The launch of new Lumia devices with Windows Phone 8 should halt Nokia's decline in the fourth quarter, Gartner said. However, there may not be large improvement to Nokia's position until next year, it said.

This quarter, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion was the third place smartphone vendor while HTC was number four. However, that could quickly change, said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta. "Both HTC and RIM have seen their sales declining in past few quarters, and the challenges might prevent them from holding on to their current rankings in coming quarters," he said.

Android continues to dominate among smartphone operating systems, representing 72.4 percent of devices sold in the third quarter. Apple iOS represented 13.9 per cent of devices sold, while BlackBerry had 5.3 percent. Windows Phone represented 2.4 percent.

Fourth-quarter expectations

Apple iOS is expected to do better in the fourth quarter because many consumers were waiting for the iPhone 5. Gartner similarly expects Microsoft's share to improve in Q4 because many waited for the launch of Windows Phone 8.

About 428 million mobile phones were sold in the third quarter, 3.1 percent fewer than in the same quarter last year, Gartner said. Of that number, 169.2 million were smartphones, a 46.9 percent increase from Q3 2011.

"After two consecutive quarter of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially," said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta.

"In China, sales of mobile phones grew driven by sales of smartphones, while demand of feature phones remained weak. In mature markets, we finally saw replacement sales pick up with the launch of new devices in the quarter."

Gartner predicted a lower-than-average boost to mobile sales from the upcoming holiday season. Consumers are either more cautious about spending or more interested in tablets this year, it said.

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