To mobile device owners today, feature phones seem to smartphones what cave paintings seem to modern art – a world apart, ancient and distant and almost irrelevant. If we consider statistics from recent years, though, feature phones have actually always held sway over smartphones in terms of market share. However, recent research by Gartner demonstrates that this trend has taken a turn to the inevitable.
The group’s data shows that smartphones have finally overtaken feature phones in terms of market share. In quarter two, ended June 30, smartphone sales rose 46.5 percent from quarter two the year earlier, and shipped 225 million units. Sales of feature phones, on the other hand, declined 21 percent from Q2 last year and sold 210 million units. Although all regions of the world showed an increase in smartphone sales over the last year, the sales showed the highest increases in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
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In the battle of the companies for market supremacy, Samsung reigns number one with almost a third of the total mobile phone share; rival Apple holds second place with 14.2 percent share. This is a drop from its 18.8 percent share in Q2 2012, although iPhone sales increased 10.2 percent over the course of the year. What’s more, Apple’s average selling price is at its lowest point since the release of the iPhone in 2007. Analysts suggest that strong sales of the iPhone 4, made cheaper with the release of the iPhone 5, led to the drop, and the case may be a sign for Apple to release a new model iPhone at lower cost in order to improve overall market share.
Windows phones did overtake Blackberry for the first time to claim third place in market shares, but 93.2 percent of the market is held by Android and iOS combined. Nokia is the one company that appears to lean most heavily on feature phones in its inventory, but the company sold 22 million fewer units in Q2 2013 compared to Q2 2012. However, the company has also seen a comfortable rise in smartphone sales.
Smartphones are on the climb, and it looks as though it’s going to take a lot of effort for feature phones to hang in there for the long haul.
Edited by Ryan Sartor