Despite a 3 per cent dip in global mobile phone sales to 428 million units in the third quarter, smartphone sales jumped a full 47 per cent, according to data released by research firm Gartner.

Smartphones continued to fuel sales of mobile phones worldwide with sales rising to 169.2 million units in the third quarter, Gartner said, adding that the smartphone market is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

The quarter also saw Samsung becoming the largest mobile handset market with 22.9 per cent of the overall market share, selling 98 million units, up from 18.7 per cent a year ago, it said.

This has had the Finnish major Nokia slipping to No 2 slot with only 19.2 per cent global share, down from 23.9 per cent a year ago, Gartner said. The iconic Apple is at a distant third place with 5.5 per cent, up from 3.9 per cent a year ago, it added.

“Both vendors together controlled 46.5 per cent of smartphone market leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot,” it said.

The quarter saw Samsung further widening the gap with Apple in the smartphone market, selling 55 million units, driven by its Galaxy series across different price points.

Overall, Samsung’s mobile phones sales accelerated, totalling almost 98 million units in Q3, up 18.6 per cent year-on-year.

“After two consecutive quarters of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both developed and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

He added that the growth was driven by the world’s largest market China where sales growth was driven by smartphones, but demand of feature phones remained weak, while mature markets finally saw replacement sales picking up with the launch of new devices in the quarter.

Nokia slipped from the No 3 slot in the second quarter to a distant No 7 in smartphones in Q3, while RIM moved to the No 3 spot followed by HTC at No 4.

“Both HTC and RIM have seen their sales declining in the past few quarters, and the challenges might prevent them from holding on to their current rankings in coming quarters,” Gupta added.

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