Samsung and Android continue to dominate mobile phone market

Mobile phone sales continued to stall during the first quarter in 2013 as users increasingly ditched their feature phones for longer-life smartphones. Samsung continued to dominate both categories, with Apple landing at number two for smartphone sales, according to stats from Gartner.

On mobile phones overall, Samsung was top dog, growing 13 per cent in the first quarter to capture 23.6 per cent of the market with more than 100 million units sold. On smartphones, Samsung's share was higher at 30.8 per cent with 64.7 million units sold.

"We expect the new Galaxy S4 to be very popular despite being more of an evolution than a truly revolutionary device compared to the S3," Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

The drop-off in feature phone sales contributed to Nokia's 4.9 per cent slip to 14.8 per cent of the mobile phone market, though it maintained its number two spot. It didn't even make the top five smartphone list, however, as its Lumia lineup has yet to really pick up steam.

"Feature phones users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further," Gupta said. "Either way the prospect of longer replacement cycles is certainly not good news for both vendors and carriers looking to move users forward."

Apple, which only sells smartphones, was third on the mobile phone list, but number two for smartphones. It has 18.2 per cent of the global smartphone market thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, though that's down from 22.5 per cent during the same time period last year.

"Apple is faced with the challenge of being increasingly dependent on the replacement market as its addressable market is capped," Gupta said. "The next two quarters will be challenging, as there are no new products expected to be coming before the third quarter of 2013."

Apple CEO Tim Cook said as much during a first-quarter earnings call in April, when he announced that "amazing new hardware, software, and services" will launch this autumn and throughout 2014.

Meanwhile, smartphones have officially overtaken feature phones as the device of choice. IDC last month reported that during a "seasonally slow" first quarter, smart devices outsold their feature phone counterparts for the first time, making up for more than half of the total market share in Q1 2013.

In terms of operating system, about 74.4 per cent of smartphones were running Android in the first quarter, Gartner said, beating Apple's number two iOS platform on 18.2 per cent. BlackBerry and Microsoft picked up the slack, with 3 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively. BlackBerry saw a tumble from 6.8 per cent in 2012, while Microsoft picked up some market share from 1.9 per cent last year.

"There are two clear leaders in the OS market and Android's dominance...is unshakeable," Gupta said. "With new [operating systems] coming to the market such as Tizen, Firefox, and Jolla we expect some market share to be eroded but not enough to question Android's volume leadership."