According to NPD's third quarter report, smartphone sales now command 59 percent of all mobile phone sales, which is an increase of 13 percent from this time last year. This is up 5 percent from the first quarter, when smartphone sales outpaced feature phones for the first time ever.
Although, according to a recent Gartner study, cellphone sales are down overall. Global mobile sales only grew at 5.6 percent this quarter, down sharply from 16.5 percent in the previous quarter. Gartner predicts that this slowdown will be relatively short-lived, and should turnaround by mid-2012.
Cellphone sales may be slowing for the time being, but Android continues to dominate in terms of smartphone operating systems. The global market share of Google's mobile OS doubled in the third quarter. Currently, more than 50 percent of smartphone owners have an Android phone.
Android's dominance was also apparent in NPD's results. While the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS took the top two spots in terms of sales, the rest of the most popular phones were all powered by the little green robot.
Check out the most popular smartphones, as listed by NPD:
- Apple iPhone 4
- Apple iPhone 3GS
- HTC EVO 4G
- Motorola Droid 3
- Samsung Intensity II
As Yoni Heisler of Network World points out, it's interesting that an old iPhone like the 3GS (released in 2009) is still more popular than brand-new Android phones like the recently released Droid 3.
This may be because when it comes to Android, people are more loyal to the platform than they are to the phone itself. In terms of operating systems, NPD's first quarter rankings are the same as the current quarter's, but there was a reshuffling when it came to which Android phones were the most popular. The Droid X and HTC Droid Incredible dropped off the list and were replaced by the Droid 3 and Samsung Intensity II.
Of course, loyalty to Apple handsets is a necessity since only five have been made. Android offers at least 70 different handset options.
One reason smartphones might be becoming increasingly popular is that their prices continue to drop. For four consecutive quarters, smartphone prices have gone down, and these feature-rich phones now sell for $135 on average, based on NPD's report. Even Apple, whose products are notoriously expensive, now sells the iPhone 4 for just $99.