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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 is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Cause people are cheap! But its good for MS.
  • Nah, value for money. Common sense.
  • +1
  • Common sense, except when you find out you can't run App Z because of low memory in which case the solution is to start a firestorm of complaints on teh internet (... b...b..but you did buy a budget/ecnonomy phone, no?  why *should* you be able to run every app that a 1020 can?).
  • Only few Windows Phone models feature 1024 mb ram, but the top seller is 520, not 620 or 720, so it's value for the money. Plus a lot of AAA game titles include support for 512 mb devices in first or second update.
  • I agree and for most people buying those phones, heavy gaming is not a priority. I usually recommend the 520 to everybody remarking the shortcomings and then pointing to the expensive ones.
  • Or poor....
  • "or dont want to spend too much money for phone" - 620 owner
  • Or Lumia 520 offers better value in its price category against competitors, compared to Lumia 925 in the high end.
  • Until you get to the camera functìons then the 925 runs circles around the 520/521. The 521 doesn't have a flash and lacks some handy features available on the 92x series.
  • The 521 is fine for taking snapshots of average quality, which is fine for me and most people. Flash on cellphones is, with some high end exceptions, rather useless anyway.
  • 925 is not priced as high-end.
  • Anywhere but the U.S. it is. Also, it was only on T-Mo, which isn't exactly where people go if they have money to spend on phones. I'd rather have a 720 on ATT/VZW than a 925 on T-Mo.
  • people are not cheap.. cmon man iPhone was just luanched n they sold more than 9 millions in a day!, even in china where they are selling unlocked for more than 500$s n people still lined up for it..  if people were cheap, they wouldnt have sold that many.. Whether you want to hear it or not, people dont like WP phone, most people just dont like the look of it n only reason i guess they are selling cheap lumias cuz people rather use that 520 box than go back to featured phone. i luv my windows phone but there are many times i just wish i had an android phone or iPhone, many customization n apps that sometimes i want are just not there! plus im still waiting for GDR2! (cmon att, how long you are gonna make us wait!) my sis's iPhone 4s already got iOS 7 update!.. that makes me sad
  • it is Microsoft fault. They are all talk...and 0 substance. They should have been lighting a fire under ATT ass a long time ago...but they don't care one bit.
    I'm waiting until they destroy the last of Nokia legacy in 2014.
  • I agree People are mot cheap but the majority has not so much to spend and with the 520/521/625 they have a very decent phone for a price that does not really hurt and if they want WITHOUT a contract and that's the market they are aiming for
  • I agree.
    If WP8 adoption has slowed down, its because Microsoft has slowed down, releases are far and few, there has been nothing substantial since many months now, Nokia has been releasing phones, but Microsoft has been lagging behind on updates. Unless there is a major update with substantial features, android will move ahead and eat into WP market.  We are still struggling to get GDR2 yet, at this rate adoption will stop completely.
    1020 is an amazing device with a old OS. Microsoft needs to buck up, else the trend will be downwards. 
  • 1020 has an old OS? What?
  • I mean WP8 has not been substantially updated with features compared to what was available with 920.
  • Understand what you mean, most Microsoft apps (incl. Skydrive) work better on Android phones than WP8 devices.
    MS needs to get their shit together on OS, especially with notifications, ability to shut off vibrations, system/ringtone volume and a whole lot of other basics.
  • Yes that was my point. I know many people who would not buy a windows phone unless it has these basic features in it. If you want to win them MS has to move fast. Esp with BB dying down, its a great opportunity not to be missed. 
    As much as i love my Windows Phone, it will not stop me from pointing out where it lags behind. I want WP to win, and as a ex microsoftie I know that MS is slow, i hope the new CEO turns it around. 
  • Despite the 9million sold Android is still running circles around Apple in market share and it is primarily due to the low end.
  • GDR2 isn't a high priority upgrade. Sure it'd be nice to have MS push out updates faster, buy why bother with GDR2 when its primary purpose was to enable new hardware? New hardware already ships with it so effectively everyone who will actually use it has already received it.
  • For Nokia users, there are a lot of apps sitting around on our phones we can't use. Also, I have some numbers I need to block, and it's awkward to turn the phone on with the power button when it's on the desk charger. GDR2, especially with Amber, is actually a big deal.
  • Wow some of you still didn't get GDR2??? That sucks!!
  • You do know that GDR2/Amber was finished by MS long time ago and if you aren't getting it it is probably because of carrier holding it back?  So what does that have to do with MS being slow?
  • Never once I looked to Android or ios since my first experience with WP. They are the same lame ui as found on PCs of old. Wp/w8 is so new, so refreshing, engaging, elegant, and futuristic that I have a hard time ever switching. All this reminds me of the movies Minority Report or Oblivion. That's where I wanna be, that's the future of touch computing I want to experience. I cannot foresee Apple or Google providing this future world because of that same lame PC of old base UI. Only MS's new modern UI has the potential. That's my mindshare and that's the problem with the world. Apple=status, Google=free, but they could never see MS/modern UI equaling future. Boggles my mind Devs and techies downplay modern ui. Lastly, customization in Android I see is nothing more than mere fun and play. At the end of the day, its still that same old style pc of old based UI.
  • Ok. 
  • That's because the only high end windows 8 phone isn't available on all carriers. The ATIV S. Before you start hating on me look at the facts. ATIV S has memory.
    I have a 920 Rogers and a 925 T-Mobile. I run into memory issues on both. If there was a W8 high end phone with a SD memory slot or 64GB it would move alot more. All the High end phones in any store has a 64GB variant except W8 phones. Tmo only offers a 16GB. That's a joke.
  • Yeah, I'm still waiting to go to W8 for that reason. I'm cashed up and ready to buy, but I just need one with 64 GB or 32 + microSD. I'm hoping to see a 64 GB variant of the 1020 in Aus...
  • Happy 820 user... Does not lack any functions except 920 and 1020... Camera..for that i have my nikon aw100 and also 820 clicks much decent pics...
  • Right said people are not cheap its upon me how wud i like to spend if i am getting 520 i am getting a phone value for money rather than spending it more on phone i wud get something else... It depends what u prefer... And 520 is the best phone in that price range..
  • Most people go for a specific phone/ brand an OS because the shop representative minds set for a specific one, or they like more the phone and OS design. Most people don't have a clue what to choose and even more what to do with all software available, they don't know it