Gartner Estimates Don’t Improve Windows Phone’s 2014 Market Share

Posted on March 3, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in The Sams Report, Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Last week, I wrote about Windows Phone market share in 2014, basing the discussion on just IDC’s estimated unit sales figures. Well, this week Gartner finally chimed in too. And sad to say, but these new numbers don’t do much to improve Windows Phone’s standing.

Generally, I like to average the IDC and Gartner results, but then the two firms usually release their PC, tablet and smart phone market share reports very close to one another. But as I noted in Windows Phone Grew Unit Sales in 2014, Lost Market Share, I felt the news was too important to wait on Gartner and didn’t believe the additional data would provide a rosier picture.

And it did not.

According to Gartner, device makers sold 35.1 million Windows Phone handsets in calendar year 2014, good for 2.8 percent of the market. That compares to IDC’s numbers: 34.9 million handsets sold and 2.7 percent market share. So if we average them as I normally do, we arrive at 35 million Windows Phones sold in 2014 and 2.75 percent market share.

Gartner had even less to say than IDC did about Windows Phone.

“Windows Phone’s performance was flat but it recorded strong results in some markets in Europe, and in the business segment,” the Gartner market share report noted in the only sentence that included the word “Windows.”

Gartner also reported on “mobile phone” sales, which include all phones, including smart phones, feature phones and dumb phones. On this scale, Microsoft is actually the third-largest player overall (behind Samsung and Apple), with 185.6 million units sold in 2014, good for 9.9 percent market share. But that is down from the 250.8 million units and 13.9 percent the firm (along with Nokia) commanded in 2013.

There were of course some other weird differences between the IDC and Gartner reports.

Where IDC claimed that 1.3 billion smart phones were sold in 2014, Gartner put the figure at 1.24 billion.

Though IDC didn’t address this, Gartner claims that the iPhone outsold all Samsung smart phones in the fourth quarter during the heady iPhone 6 launch period, with Apple selling 74.8 million units compared to 73 million for Samsung. But Samsung handily beat Apple for calendar year 2014 as always, 308 million units to 191 million.

Lenovo moved into third place in the smart phone market in 2014 behind Samsung and Apple, with 81.4 million units sold, up from 57.4 million units in 2013.

And up-and-coming Chinese smart phone makers like Huawei and Xiaomi are no longer followers: they “are continuing to improve their sales in China and other overseas markets, increasing their share in the mid to low-end smartphone market,” Gartner said.