Latin Americans owning smartphones have impacted sales during 2013 according to a new report released a leading information technology research and advisory company.

According to Gartner, smartphones accounted for 53.6 percent of the overall mobile phone sales last year, globally. As a result, smartphones exceeded the annual sales of feature phones. Gartner disclosed the global sales of smartphones to end users reached 968 million units during 2013, which is an increase of 42.3 percentage points from 2012's figure of 680 million. It marked the first time smartphones outsold feature phones.

The fourth quarter of 2013, however, proved major for Latin America as the region was distinguished as having the strongest growth of all regions Gartner accounted for including the Asia and Pacific block, Africa and the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Latin America's smartphone sales growth peaked at 96.1 percent during 2013's fourth quarter.

Along with Asia/Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, smartphones sales grew by 50 percentage points during the fourth quarter. As a result, global smartphone sales increased by 36 percent. The sales increase in the aforementioned regions led to smartphones to account for 57.6 percent of the overall mobile phone sales in the fourth quarter, which is an increase from 44 percent during the same period in 2012.

"Mature markets face limited growth potential as the markets are saturated with smartphone sales, leaving little room for growth with declining feature phone market and a longer replacement cycle," said Gartner's Principal Research Analyst Anshul Gupta. "Lack of compelling hardware innovation has further exacerbated replacement cycles for high-end smartphones in 2013 because consumers don't find enough reasons to upgrade."

Taking into account the sales in Latin America, Samsung was named the top global vendor during the fourth quarter, however, its market share slipped. Samsung sold 83.3 million smartphones worldwide during the fourth quarter, which accounted for 29.5 percent of the market share. During the same quarter in 2012, Samsung sold 64.5 million smartphones while having a larger market share of 31.1 percent.

Apple, in a similar situation as Samsung, sold more smartphones in the latest fourth quarter but saw its market share percentage drop. The fourth quarter of 2013 saw Apple sell 50.2 million iPhones, which is an increase from the 43.5 million sold during the same quarter in 2012. Apple's smartphone sales' increase was credited to strong numbers for the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 4s in emerging markets. The iPhone company's market share dropped from 20.9 percent in 2012 to 17.8 for 2013's fourth quarter.

Huawei capitalized on overseas expansion, which saw growth in Latin America. According to Gartner, Huawei sales increased by 85.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 when comparing year-over-year growth. Huawei finished the fourth quarter at third place with 16 million smartphones sold worldwide, or 5.7 percent of the market share. In comparison to the same period in 2012, Huawei sold 8.7 million smartphones while garnering a market share of 4.2 percent.

Lenovo and LG Electronics competed for fourth place, but the former narrowly edged the latter. Lenovo finished the fourth quarter with 4.6 percent of the market share, or 12.9 million smartphones sold. LG Electronics, meanwhile, sold 12.8 million smartphones, or 4.5 percent of the market share. Overall, approximately 282 million smartphones were sold worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase from 208 million during the same quarter in 2012.


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