Smartphone Shipments Trump Feature Phones For The First Time


Smartphone shipments reached 225 million units in the second quarter, surpassing feature phones for the first time, according to research firm Gartner.

The ramp-up in smartphone sales was a 46.5 percent year-over-year increase while feature phones experienced a 21 percent year-over-year drop according to Gartner.

David Uhler, national director of research and development at Boston-based solution provider Slalom Consulting, said Gartner's report reinforces the growing importance of mobility practices.

[Related: Emerging Vendors 2013: Mobility Vendors]

"Mobile used to be treated like a second- or third-class citizen but now, especially over the last year, it is more of a first-class or even primary citizen," Uhler said.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, told CRN in an email that the rise in smartphone adoption can be largely attributed to emerging markets and a shrinking price gap between smartphones and feature phones.

"Feature phones will be relegated to the very bottom end of the market as many smartphones today can reach prices as low as $70," Milanesi said.

In reference to emerging markets, Uhler said regions lacking infrastructure foster faster smartphone adoption, "but there is still a massive undercurrent [of smartphone adoption] in stable and existing markets, the U.S. being a great example."

Larry Gold, president of Mendon, Vt.-based solution provider Computer EZ, said Gartner's report came as no surprise and has more of an impact on companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint than on solution providers. Gold noted email reconfiguration as one of the only value-add areas affected by this year's smartphone growth.

Samsung holds a strong first place in the global smartphone market with 31.7 percent share, a 2 percent increase from the same quarter of the previous year. Apple sales increased 10.2 percent year over year and currently holds 14.2 percent share globally.

Nokia was affected by the lack of demand for feature phones, with mobile feature phone sales dropping almost 6 percent from the previous year. Nokia's smartphone line, Lumia, however, grew 112.7 percent in the second quarter due to its expanded portfolio. Lenovo saw year-over-year smartphone growth of 60.6 percent, reaching 11 million units in the second quarter.

Worldwide mobile phone sales are expected to total 1.82 billion units by year end, according to Gartner.

PUBLISHED AUG. 15, 2013