Increased sales of Lumia devices moved Nokia up to the number 8 spot in the global smartphone market manufacturer league table. However, it still has some way to go to reach the top 5: Huawei was in fifth place (11.6 million smartphones sold), behind LG in 4th place (12 million), Lenovo in 3rd place (12.8 million), Apple in 2nd place (30.3 million), and Samsung in 1st place (80.3 million).
According to Gartner's data Nokia remains in pole position in the mobile phone segment, selling an estimated 54 million devices, well ahead of the 37 million device estimate for Samsung. However, that is because, in part, Samsung has converted more of its customer base to smartphones.
Gartner's press release notes that the growth of both smartphones and mobile phone sales in the third quarter was led by Asia.
Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 250.2 million units, up 45.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012. Asia/Pacific led the growth in both markets - the smartphone segment with 77.3 percent increase and the mobile phone segment with 11.9 percent growth. The other regions to show an increase in the overall mobile phone market were Western Europe, which returned to growth for the first time this year, and the Americas.
Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, when talking about smartphone platform growth described Microsoft as a "winner":
“However, the winner of this quarter is Microsoft which grew 123 percent. Microsoft announced the intent to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, which we believe will unify effort and help drive appeal of Windows ecosystem.”
While the 123% growth figure is impressive, it is important to note that it came off a relatively small base. Sales and shipment figures for the third quarter last year were relatively low, ahead of the launch of Windows Phone 8 devices.
Q3 2013 estimates for smartphone sales / shipments
The three major research firms that release global smartphone shipment / sales figures on a quarterly basis have now all reported their numbers for the July to September time period. For Microsoft's mobile platform there is some variation in the figures: Gartner, IDC, and Strategy Analytics respectively reported numbers of 8.91 million, 9.5 million, and 10.2 million for Windows Phone.
In contrast to IDC and Strategy Analytics, Gartner estimates unit sales to end users, rather than unit shipment volumes, which, together with varying methodology and sampling technique, helps why the number are different between the three companies.
The safe conclusion? Windows Phone shipped and/or sold just under 10 million devices between the beginning of July and the end of September. The 10 million barrier should, however, be broken with ease in the fourth quarter.