iPhone 6/6 Plus fuel 26 per cent smartphone sales jump for Apple

Samsung loses huge market share in China, while Apple’s iPhone 6 sales continue unabated

Apple iPhone sales shot up by 26 per cent during the autumn, while Samsung lost more than a quarter of its Chinese market share, according to Gartner.

The smartphone rivals experienced contrasting fortunes between July and September this year, the analyst house found, as Apple sold eight million more smartphones worldwide than it did during the same period in 2013, taking it to 38 million overall.

Samsung retained its crown as king of smartphone sales by selling 73 million devices over the period, but conceded eight per cent of its global market share due to a 28.6 per cent plummet in China.

Gartner attributed Apple's success to the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, its larger-screen models.

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"Over the holidays we expect record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus," said research director Annette Zimmermann.

But she warned the industry not to ignore the increasing influence of Chinese players, with three of the top five vendors coming from the country: Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo.

"We should not underestimate the Chinese vendors and local brands," she said. "Chinese players will continue to look at expanding in overseas emerging markets. In Europe, prepaid country markets and attractive [low]-cost LTE phones will also offer key opportunities for these brands."

The statistics, released today, showed tight competition between those Chinese firms, though Xiaomi a debutant on the top five smartphone vendor list enjoyed the most growth of all five firms, at 336 per cent to lead its native market.

Despite the success of the iPhone, Apple did little to close the gap on the Android operating system with its own iOS.

Open source Android, whose 5.0 iteration Lollipop is now available, accounted for 250 million smartphones worldwide, compared to 38 million iPhones, increasing its market share by 22 per cent.

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BlackBerry lost a whole percentage point in market share to leave it clinging on with 0.8 per cent, while Microsoft's Windows Phone lost 0.6 per cent of its market share, falling to three per cent.

Zimmermann said: "Microsoft needs to keep the momentum going from the third quarter, when Windows Phone-based devices grew quarter-on-quarter thanks to the introduction of more mid-range devices."

Gartner expects smartphone sales to total 1.2 billion units this year, and estimates that nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones by 2018.

They accounted for 66 per cent of the total mobile phone market in the third quarter of 2014, with feature phone sales declining 25 per cent because of competition from low-cost Android smartphones.

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