The era of feature phones might be coming to a close. That is one of the possibilities coming from Gartner’s analysis of this year’s third quarter smartphone sales. The mobile phone market has practically stagnated compared to the same period last year, thanks to the rise of low-end Android phones. This is most especially seen in emerging markets like Eastern Europe and the Middle East, while Western Europe’s smartphone sales reveal a disheartening downward trend.
Feature phones are usually chosen because of their price point and their simplicity but smartphones have started to cannibalize on the former with more and more budget models coming out. The lure of a smartphone that has a mobile phone price tag but with the functionality of an Android smartphone is just something too hard to resist. This particular push can be seen coming from Chinese vendors, who are starting to rise to prominence, at the expense of key players in the market. While they are a long way from toppling the top two smartphone sellers, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Lenovo do already make up the rest of the world’s top 5.
While Samsung does remain ahead of the pack, it’s position isn’t exactly favorable last quarter. As already reported before, Samsung’s sales saw an unprecedented drop in numbers, from around 80 million to 73 million. In contrast, Apple’s sales rose last quarter as expected, due to the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the first large screen iPhones to date. And as mentioned before, Xiaomi’s rise was quite remarkable, entering the top 5 within just a year. Gartner believes that this Chinese push will continue and other industry players should take heed.
In terms of platforms, of course Android has a far lead from Apple, making up 83.1 percent of the smartphone sales last quarter, up from last year’s 82 percent. iOS similarly enjoyed a slight bump, from 12.1 percent to 12.7 percent, again attributed to the newly released iPhones. Windows Phone, on the other hand, experienced a slight drop in sales but still remains far ahead from BlackBerry.