We have seen some wildly divergent numbers for Windows Phone sales in Q1 2014, including ABI Research, which estimated more than 13 million handsets.
UK market research company Canalys have now weighed in with their Q1 numbers, and for Windows Phone they are not half as rosy.
The company estimates 279.4 million smart phones were shipped in Q1 2014, representing growth of 29% on Q1 2013, but a decline of 5% on the seasonally strong Q4 2013.
81% (226.3 million) were Android devices, with iOS and Windows Phone accounting for 16% (44.7 million) and 3% (8.4 million) respectively.
China, the world’s largest smart phone market, accounted for 35% of shipments, substantially ahead of the US, which managed just 12%.
For the first time, all four BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries appeared among the top 10 smart phone markets, reflecting the shift in momentum toward the new growth markets that has been occurring over the last few years. With China first, India was the third largest market, accounting for a 5% share of global shipments. Brazil and Russia were in eighth and tenth place respectively, each at 2%. Combined, the BRIC countries saw shipments of 123.4 million units, equivalent to 44% of the global total. ‘New growth and emerging markets represent a collective opportunity that now far outweighs mature markets. Q1 smart phone shipments represented 65% of the wider mobile phone market. Much of the potential for that number to increase is now focused on emerging markets,’ said Canalys Research Director for China Nicole Peng..
The survey also showed much of the growth was in the larger-screened handsets above 5 inches.
Smart phones with 5" and larger screens grew 369% – a substantially greater rate of growth than the overall market. Worldwide, they represented just over a third of shipments (34%), and in Greater China the figure hit 39%, and 43% in Asia Pacific.
‘This is still a market segment led by Samsung, but the trend is unmistakably toward larger-screen handsets at the high end of the market. It held a 44% share of devices with displays of 5" and above, and 53% if the view is narrowed to look at 5.5"-plus displays,’ said Canalys Analyst Jessica Kwee. ‘But many other vendors, such as Lenovo, Huawei, LG and Sony, have also achieved significant volumes in this space with products at the top end of their portfolios. Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long. It is notable that 5" and above displays featured on almost half (47%) of smart phones with an unlocked retail price of US$500 or more. Of the remaining 53% of high-end smart phones, 87% were iPhones. Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smart phone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months.’
The results also shed more light on the relative failure of the Nokia Lumia 1520. While 34% of smartphones shipped had screens at or bigger than 5 inches, only 2% had screens 6 inches or above, indicating that segment still has to reach market acceptance. Launching the Nokia Lumia 930 instead of the 1520 would clearly have been a better choice in late 2013.
See the full report at Canalys here.