More dismal Windows Phone sales numbers, this time from Gartner

Laurent Giret

Just a week after Kantar released its latest smartphone OS data for Q2 2016, Gartner has just followed its steps today and once again we have more hard data proving that Windows Phone is slowly becoming a tiny player in the global smartphone market. According to the market research company, global smartphone sales to end users totaled 344 million units in Q2 2016, which represents a 4.3% increase over Q2 2015 but a 1.43% decrease over Q1 2016.  Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner explained:

Demand for premium smartphones slowed in the second quarter of 2016 as consumers wait for new hardware launches in the second half of the year. In addition, the decline in sales of “feature phones” (down 14 per cent) bolstered the decline in overall sales of mobile phones in the second quarter of 2016.

Global smartphone sales in Q2 2016 (Gartner).
Global smartphone sales in Q2 2016 (Gartner).

Looking at worlwide smartphone sales by operating system, Android increased its market share to 86.2 in Q2 2016 (296,9 million units sold), a performance which results from “demand for mid- to lower-end smartphones from emerging markets, but also from premium smartphones which recorded a 6.5 percent increase in the second quarter of 2016.” Closing the podium, iOS accounts for 12.9 of smartphone sales during the quarter (44.3 million units sold) and Windows Phone is unsurprisingly far behind with a tiny 0.6% OS share and 1.9 units sold (compared to 0.7% OS share and 2.3 units in Q1 2016).

While Microsoft chose to not disclose its Lumia sales during the release of its FY2016 Q4 results last month, we previously reported that it appears that the company actually sold as few as 1.2 million phones during last quarter. If you’re wondering why there is a 0.7 million delta between Gartner numbers and Microsoft estimated Lumia sales in Q2 2016, there could be a simple explanation: Gartner considers all Windows Phone sales to end users (including sales from third-party manufacturers) while Microsoft only reports sales into the channel. Anyway, it’s quite difficult to compare these numbers directly, even though they mostly tell the same story.

According to research director at Gartner Roberta Cozza, Google and its Android partners are likely to increase their domination over the smartphone market in the coming months as the mobile operating system is still evolving at a fast pace and looks to be ready to get traction in other markets:

“Google is evolving the Android platform fast, which allows Android players to remain at the cutting edge of smartphone technology,” said “Facing a highly commoditized smartphone market, Google’s focus is to further expand and diversify the Android platform with additional functionalities, like virtual reality, enabling more-intelligent experiences and reach into wearables, connected home devices, in-car entertainment and TV.”

Let us know in the comments what do you think of last quarter’s Gartner sales report and if you believe there is still room for a third player in the smartphone market.