Falling prices and Chinese brands lift smartphone sales

Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo, the three largest Chinese manufacturers, sold more than 46 million smartphones in the third quarter.
Smartphone sales in Mena have risen as more affordable brands get introduced in the region. Above, the Obi Falcon s451 Android which smartphone launched in the UAE in September. Sarah Dea / The National
Smartphone sales in Mena have risen as more affordable brands get introduced in the region. Above, the Obi Falcon s451 Android which smartphone launched in the UAE in September. Sarah Dea / The National

Smartphone sales rose nearly 50 per cent year-on-year across the Middle East and North Africa in the three months to September, spurred by falling prices and the rise of Chinese manufacturers, according to data from tech research firm Gartner.

“The difference in price between feature phones and low-cost Android smartphones is reducing further,” said Roberta Cozza, the research director at Gartner.

Global feature phone sales declined 25 per cent in the third quarter.

Global smartphone sales, however, grew 20 per cent, with the top three Chinese manufacturers achieving the fastest growth.

At present, smartphones account for 66 per cent of the total mobile market, while Gartner estimates that smartphones will account for 90 per cent of all phones by 2018.

Samsung continued to lose its market share to Apple and Chinese manufacturers. The Korean firm slipped from 32.1 per cent of the total smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2013 to 24.1 per cent this year. Apple’s market share now stands at 12.7 per cent globally – with sales up by more than a quarter year-on-year.

Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo, the three largest Chinese manufacturers, sold more than 46 million smartphones in the third quarter – above Apple’s 38.2 million sales, but below’s Samsung’s 73.2 million.

Android cemented its lead as the most-used platform, with 83.1 per cent of smartphones using the operating system, equivalent to 250 million smartphones.

Globally, about 301 million smartphones were sold in the third quarter of this year, up 20.3 per cent from 250.3 million sold in the third quarter of 2013.

Gartner expects annual smartphone sales to total 1.2 billion units.

Gartner said the Chinese brands were likely to make further headway in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Over the holidays, we expect record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but we should not underestimate the Chinese vendors and local brands,” said Annette Zimmermann, the research director at Gartner. “Chinese players will continue to look at expanding in overseas emerging markets [including the Middle East].”

business@thenational.ae

Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM

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