Gartner: Apple gained mobile phone share as smartphones overtook feature phone sales in 2013

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users totaled 968 million units in 2013, an increase of 42.3 percent from 2012 (see Table 1), according to Gartner, Inc. Sales of smartphones accounted for 53.6 percent of overall mobile phone sales in 2013, and exceeded annual sales of feature phones for the first time.

Smartphone sales grew 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and accounted for 57.6 percent of overall mobile phone sales in the fourth quarter, up from 44 percent year over year (see Table 2). This increasing contribution of smartphones was led by growth in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe, where smartphone sales grew by more than 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. With a 166.8 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2013, India exhibited the highest smartphone sales growth among the countries tracked by Gartner, and Latin America saw the strongest growth among all regions (96.1 percent) in the fourth quarter. China also contributed significantly to worldwide smartphone sales as sales grew 86.3 percent in 2013.

Table 1: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
Gartner: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)

Table 2: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q13 (Thousands of Units)
Gartner:  Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q13 (Thousands of Units)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)

In the fourth quarter of 2013, mobile phone sales in mature regions fell due to weaker demand.”Mature markets face limited growth potential as the markets are saturated with smartphone sales, leaving little room for growth with declining feature phone market and a longer replacement cycle,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Lack of compelling hardware innovation has further exacerbated replacement cycles for high-end smartphones in 2013 because consumers don’t find enough reasons to upgrade.”

Top Smartphone Vendor Analysis

Apple: Strong sales of the iPhone 5s and continued strong demand for the 4s in emerging markets helped Apple see record sales of 50.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013. “However, Apple’s share in smartphone declined both in the fourth quarter of 2013 and in 2013, but growth in sales helped to raise share in the overall mobile phone market,” said Mr. Gupta. “With Apple adding NTT DOCOMO in Japan for the first time in September 2013 and signing a deal with China Mobile during the quarter, we are already seeing an increased growth in the Japanese market and we should see the impact of the last deal in the first quarter of 2014.”

Samsung: While Samsung’s smartphone share was up in 2013 it slightly fell by 1.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013. This was mainly due to a saturated high-end smartphone market in developed regions. Samsung will need to build a clearer value proposition around its midrange smartphones, defining simpler user interfaces, pushing the right features as well as seizing the opportunity of bringing innovations to stand out beyond price in this growing segment.

Huawei: Huawei smartphone sales grew 85.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to maintain the No. 3 spot year over year. Huawei has moved quickly to align its organization to focus on the global market. Huawei’s overseas expansion delivered strong results in the fourth quarter of 2013, with growth in the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Europe.

Lenovo: Lenovo saw smartphone sales in 2013 increase by 102.3 percent and by 63.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Lenovo’s Motorola acquisition from Google will give Lenovo an opportunity to expand within the Americas. “The acquisition will also provide Lenovo with patent protection and allow it to expand rapidly across the global market,” said Mr. Gupta. “We believe this deal is not just about entering into the U.S., but more about stepping out of China.”

Gartner expects smartphones to continue to drive overall sales in 2014 and an increasing number of manufacturers will realign their portfolios to focus on the low-cost smartphone sector. Sales of high-end smartphones will slow as increasing sales of low- and mid-price smartphones in high-growth emerging markets will shift the product mix to lower-end devices. This will lead to a decline in average selling price and a slowdown in revenue growth.

In the smartphone OS market, Android’s share grew 12 percentage points to reach 78.4 percent in 2013 (see Table 3). The Android platform will continue to benefit from this, with sales of Android phones in 2014 approaching the billion mark.

Table 3: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
Gartner: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 1.8 billion units in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2012 (see Table 4). Users bought 490.3 mobile phones in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 3.9 percent compared with the same quarter in 2012. “While the top three mobile manufacturers are dominating the global mobile phone market, their share collectively fell in the fourth quarter of 2013 and yearly as Chinese and regional brands continue to raise their share,” said Mr. Gupta.

Table 4: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
Gartner: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2013 (Thousands of Units)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)

Additional information is in the Gartner report “Market Share Analysis: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 4Q13 and 2013.” The report is available on Gartner website at

Source: Gartner, Inc.

Related article:
Apple iPhone took 87.4% of mobile phone profits in Q413 – February 11, 2014
Apple iPhone hits 41.8% share of U.S. smartphones, Samsung at 26.1%; Android losing U.S. share as iOS gains – February 4, 2014
CIRP: Apple iOS overtakes Android in U.S. mobile phone operating systems – January 30, 2014
IDC data shows two thirds of Android’s 81% smartphone share are cheap junk phones – January 2, 2014
Android users poorer, shorter, unhealthier, less educated, far less charitable than Apple iPhone users – November 13, 2013


  1. It doesn’t matter how high Apple’s iPhone profits are. Apple is going to have to do a heck of a lot better when it comes to unit sales. Cheaper handsets or not, Samsung is simply lapping Apple. Sales or shipments notwithstanding, any investor who takes a quick at those numbers is going say that Apple is not worth putting a single penny into because it’s being eaten alive by Android/Samsung. Wall Street functions on perceptions and seeing these numbers, investors will perceive Apple’s iPhone business is dying. Don’t blame me. I’m just calling it as I believe Wall Street sees it.

    I don’t know what percentage of Samsung’s smartphones are actually in users hands, but those numbers sure do look impressive. And with close to a billion Android handsets being shipped, the number of iPhones sold pales in comparison. I doubt investors are concerned with shipments vs sales or profit margins or anything else. Wall Street just sees huge amounts of Android volume and huge amounts of Android market share. Apple chances of ever boosting its share price based on iPhone sales seems extremely poor and I think Apple shareholders should accept this as their fate. Apple will continue to do fine but Apple’s shareholder value will surely continue to decline if Apple doesn’t find some other market to dominate.

    1. Does giving phone away count as “selling” them? I believe what we are going to see over the next few years is that Samsung has saturated the low end market. While phone sales in general may slow down, I think they will slow much more for Samsung than for Apple. All of those people out there who got BOGO Samsung phones for $20 will want something better next time their contract expires. I believe they will turn to Apple.

  2. So, rottenbittenfruit, you’re saying that ACTUAL results don’t matter, that making up numbers is okay if it puts you in the lead position. Also, you appear to be saying that investors are stupid and don’t look at sales (because they’re not allowed to).

    This paints a very poor picture of the stock market, and another reason why I got out of it just ahead of the worldwide Bush crash.

  3. As Rotten points out, the market is concerned only with growth not results. The notion is that Samsung and co will dominate the market and drive Apple out resulting in a lose of their profit share. At 87% profit share Apple is seen to only go one way and that is down.
    The problem with this theory is that Apple have in the 15 years consistently won the battle for profit share in the areas where they compete. The PC market is dead even before the iPad came along because Apple sucked all the profit from the high-end market. The market is now between quality products (Apple) and cheap options (everyone else).
    Then look at the music player market. Everyone was predicting Apple would be beaten in the market because they thought low end products would beat them out. It was the other way around because competitors failed to make an y money and exited the business.
    Now look at phones. Apple created a new category (true smartphones) and quickly took the profit from the market. All other competitors are tying to copy with Google’s help but the result is the same. No profit. Soon enough the competitors will fail because they can’t make any money. Even Samsung is having problems now because their growth is unsustainable and their profits are shrinking.
    The stock market thinks growth and market share is everything. They have been proven wrong multiple times but still they never learn.
    Or perhaps it is because they do know and the way to make money is to convince people to invest on the hope of sticking it rich.

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