Report: Sales surge in the US for low cost Lumias but more expensive ones remain elusive

AdDuplex have released Windows Phone ecosystem data for the month of September. The company powers the ads that are found in Windows Phone apps worldwide and have become a solid metric for platform statistics.

This month's data continues a few trends, including steady growth of Nokia's dominance and the rise of low-cost Lumias. However, the high-end market, including the Lumia 1020, have so far not sold nearly as much. Expectation due to niche device or market failure?

AdDuplex September 2013

Low cost Nokia devices lead the way

The above chart shows how the Lumia 520 has passed the 20 percent mark worldwide, which is mainly down to strong sales in markets including India. The Windows Phone 8 device has almost taken over the "Other" category, while building a 12 percent lead on the Lumia 920 (9.3 percent). The next most affordable Lumia Windows Phone, the Lumia 620 is in third position on 9.1 percent.

However, should we look at just Windows Phone 8 hardware, the Lumia 520 has an even greater lead. It's certainly a popular choice for consumers.

AdDuplex September 2013

If you require reminding of Nokia's dominance of the Windows Phone ecosystem, check out the chart below:

AdDuplex September 2013

It's interesting to note that should the deal go through between Nokia and Microsoft, Redmond will take control of its mobile operating system with over 80 percent of the manufacturing share. Nearly 90 percent of the handsets available will be Nokia / Microsoft, depending on how branding works out.

Windows Phone 8 starting to stall

The latest version of Microsoft's operating system was making progress against its predecessor and was approaching the 75 percent marker, but it seems as though it's ran out of breath and requires a quick break. The AdDuplex report shows how the platform advance has started to slow down:

AdDuplex September 2013

The latest Windows Phones are selling, but there are still markets out there (Italy, Mexico, etc.) that remain strongholds for Windows Phone 7. This may not necessarily mean that Windows Phone 8 has stopped selling, but more that we're approaching the point where the changes in these charts will begin to become small while the remains of the older system are put out to dry.

Here's how the picture looks:

AdDuplex September 2013

GDR2 grows rapidly in 30 days

So with the reports coming to light about mobile operators in multiple regions beginning to roll out the GDR2 update for Windows Phone 8 hardware, what does the picture look like when comparing those who have the update to those who don't? Bear in mind that the August report showed that only 3 percent of consumers received GDR2.

AdDuplex September 2013

According to the AdDuplex report, we're looking at 30 percent of Windows Phone 8 owners sporting the GDR2 update--that's a sizeable increase in one month. 67 percent are still on Portico (GDR1) and are awaiting the notification, while just 1.7 percent are stuck on the base 8.0 version. We expect these numbers to shift dramatically as Microsoft works with operators to push out the update over the course of the next few weeks. Remain tuned for more details.

Lumia 520 storms ahead in the US; no premium hardware?

It's not only India that favours the affordable Lumia 520 as the US has taken to the low-end Nokia Windows Phone. Both the Lumia 520 and Lumia 521 (the variant for T-Mobile US) are ahead of other Windows Phones when their shares of the market are combined (3.6 and 14.2 percent respectively). 

AdDuplex September 2013

What's also interesting to take from this chart is how there's no mention of the Lumia 925 or Lumia 1020. Granted, both handsets have not been out for long enough to really show (and the latter is an expensive niche), but the Lumia 928 is well up there with the Lumia 900.

Could this be an issue with operators, or are people just more into picking up more affordable Windows Phones as the experience isn't drastically restricted? We'd put it down to a mixture of both. That said, we have looked at how the Lumia 1020 is indeed selling just as well as the Lumia 928 in a previous AdDuplex report, so we'll hold off on drawing conclusions for now.

We can, however, take a look at what could be making the Lumia 521 so popular:

AdDuplex September 2013

MetroPCS wasn't even on AdDuplex's radar in recent months, but the pre-paid wireless service (owned by T-Mobile) has stormed ahead to 5 percent, at the expense of both AT&T and Verizon.

We've written before on the entry-level market and how Nokia is poised to grab that segment. You can read more on that in our article "Nokia well positioned for approaching smartphone price wars as costs plummet".

Russia remains fair to all Windows Phone OEMs

Unlike other parts of the world who are fixated with Nokia hardware, Russia is providing a level playing field for all manufacturers who support Windows Phone. This chart represents Windows Phone 8 units in the region:

AdDuplex September 2013

But the same can't be said when we look at manufacturers and not hardware:

AdDuplex September 2013

Lumia 520 and 925 taking off in the UK

There may be cause for concern when it comes to the lack of growth in these reports for high-end hardware, but the UK sure is having a go with the Lumia 925 entering into the top list with 4.2 percent, just 4 percent behind the Lumia 920. The Lumia 520 has rocketed to first position with 20.4 percent of the market. A huge jump from 12 percent in just two months.

AdDuplex September 2013

The Lumia 800 is in second with 15.8 percent, while HTC's 8S is sat in third on 9.6 percent. The Lumia 800 had a rather strong launch in the UK and it's been difficult to ship the remaining units from retailers and partners, while handing out new Windows Phone 8 hardware and attempting to convert Lumia 800 owners to upgrade.

Germany, Austria and Switzerland enjoying premium experiences

Sprinting in the opposite direction to the US and many other markets, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have the Lumia 920 in first position on 18 percent. The Lumia 800 is in second (also experienced a strong launch) and the low-end Lumia 520 is in fourth behind the 820. 

AdDuplex September 2013

What may come as a sight surprise is how the Samsung ATIV S is in fifth spot with 7.2 percent of the Windows Phone market in the region. It's positive to see a strong hold for another OEM, especially when we've previously given the ATIV S a massive thumbs up in our detailed review.

Other charts in the report show a dominance in China of the Lumia 920, sat on 24 percent. There's certainly a stronghold effect of Windows Phone 7, but the latest version of the OS, along with new hardware are both beginning to break through and really make an impact on these charts. It was never going to change overnight, but we're getting there. Mexico is still an interesting patient:

AdDuplex September 2013

As always, these reports are produced using a sample of Windows Phone apps running version 2 of the AdDuplex SDK. The data was collected over the day of September 20th, 2013. You'll be able to view the full report once it's published tomorrow over on the AdDuplex website.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.