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Smartphone sales overtake standard handsets

Graeme Parton

Research firm Gartner released figures last week showing that smartphones are outselling standard  feature phones for the first time.

Across the world, mobile sales hit a record 435 million between April and June this year. Of this figure, smartphones represented 225 million – an increase of 46.5 per cent on last year. Standard devices, however, were down to 210 million – a decrease of 21 per cent.

Gartner said that the most significant growth was seen in the emerging markets, such as Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

In terms of separating the two, the term ‘smartphone’ is usually used to refer to a device which offers users access to the mobile internet and built-in pieces of software, such as games and applications.

On the other hand, feature phones often come with fewer capabilities and tend to be less expensive. They are, however, still popular amongst those who are looking for durability and a long battery life.

Gartner’s head research analyst, Anshul Gupta, said:

“Smartphones accounted for 51.8% of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time.”

Another research company, IDC, has suggested that the overtaking was already witnessed in the initial quarter of 2013.

It is thought that the upsurge in smartphone sales has come about largely because of the influx of competitively-priced handsets from some of the major manufacturers.

Andrew Milroy from consulting company Frost & Sullivan said:

“We have a lot of Asian manufactures such as Samsung, Huawei, ZTE and LG who are coming put with much more affordable smartphone models.

“That has helped them tap into a vast consumer base, especially in emerging markets.”

Sullivan went on to say that he expects manufacturers and retailers to find it difficult to sell standard devices within the next decade.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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