Shipments of Windows Phone up 77% for the year; solidifies global third-ranking

Some good news today for Windows Phone as the latest numbers, based on device shipments from earlier this year, have revealed a steady increase for the third place operating system.

According to the IDC’s latest numbers, Windows Phone has seen a surge of 77% year over year for device shipments (8.7M in 2013 versus 4.9M for 2012). With those numbers, Windows Phone has increased from 3.1% market share to a modest 3.7%. While iOS and Android still dominate with 13.2% and 79.3% market share respectively, Windows Phone maintains the largest year over year increase.

This is the second report from the IDC this year that has shown strong YoY growth for Windows Phone and the second report from the IDC to claim its third place ranking, globally. However, while that 77% year over year change is impressive, it is down from the 150% year over year growth measuring back in February. Some of that though can probably be attributed to a downswing in general sales of technology as the global economy continues to stagnate.

IDC: Windows Phone is growing, but slowly

Meanwhile, BlackBerry has still not managed to stop the bleeding by losing another 2% in market share, dropping from 4.9% last year to just 2.9% in 2013.  With the release of BlackBerry 10 and three new devices, the Canadian company is still in the early days of a possible recovery, but clearly they are ceding ground to Windows Phone at this point.

Ryan Reith, Program Manager with IDC’s Mobility Tracker Programs notes that Nokia is the catalyst behind the growth, which should be of no surprise. Representing 81.6% of all Windows Phone shipments in 2013 (exactly matching the numbers of AdDuplex), the Finnish company has quickly and aggressively become the dominate player on the platform. Reith notes:

"Nokia has clearly been the driving force behind the Windows Phone platform and we expect that to continue. However, as more and more vendors enter the smartphone market using the Android platform, we expect Windows Phone to become a more attractive differentiator in this very competitive market segment."

The question for many in the industry would be are these numbers good enough? In some ways, no as it is evident that Windows Phone’s market share is still miles behind iOS and especially Android. On the other hand, there is a certain change in mindset here that has taken place: Windows Phone is officially the third most popular mobile operating system in the world, toppling BlackBerry. That’s a very different psychological perspective for an OS many were calling a dud two years ago.

In addition, the strong year over year growth demonstrates that the momentum is with Windows Phone to continue that upward trend. Meanwhile, the iPhone has declined year over year, dropping from a 16.6% high in 2012 to a more sobering 13.2% in 2013. Still, the IDC notes with iOS7 and a new device on the horizon (and rumors of a low-cost variant too), Apple is poised to recapture some of that last market that its competitors have seized with more frequent releases.

The bad news is even at 3.7% market share worldwide, Windows Phone may still not be taken seriously by vendors and developers. Many have argued of an invisible barrier that needs to be crossed before Windows Phone can truly be seen as a competitor. Some have placed that number at 5%, others at 10%, both of them arbitrary.

Still, there may be some truth in it as Windows Phone right now is winning by attrition against BlackBerry and while this growth rate is good news, it will still have to do better in the coming months to make a reasonable impact. Perhaps once the full weight of the Lumia 520's market impact is measured, we'll see a larger increase.

Source: IDC

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Frak Yeah!
  • Thanks to Nokia :)
  • IOS is down to 13%, when is everyone going to stop taking them seriously?  Let's be honest, it's not a two horse race anymore.  
    Windows Phone could overtake or match iPhone next year (depending on product releases in the fall and the success of 1020). 
  • Because Android numbers are inflated by millions of cheap crappy Chinese phones. Apple still has most of the profit and mindshare and they aren't going anywhere soon. Android should be more afraid of Windows Phone than Apple. Nokia's low end phones smoke low end trash Androids.
  • Yup. Apple's mindshare will keep them going for a long time. When people think about phones they always think about the iPhone.
    iPhone has big marketshare in the US sill, and that's where all the tech press comes from, so they get a disproportionate amount of attention (see also Macs - ~5% marketshare but tend to get as much press coverage as Windows PCs).
      Windows Phone needs to break that 5% barrier ASAP, and then move quickly towards the 10% mark. Windows Phone needs official Instagram (at this stage it's about the principle of having it) 200,000 app milestone would be nice (it must be close to 175,000 by now) 8.1 needs to be good, and needs to be here quickly. It needs to close those silly gaps, like custom ring/alert tones, notifications, etc. They need to erase all the opportunities for the nitpicking fanboys to poke holes in the platform.
  • Spot on.
    Hopefully, Nokia can flood the market with cheep devices to gain marketshare, because that's the only reason Android dominates.
    Only, unlike low end Androids, low end Windows Phones actually still run very well (I.E: the Lumia 520). If we can get the low end market hooked on Windows Phone, that will be a great foothold in the mobile market, because Windows Phone is very stable and optimized, so people buying cheep will still get an almost-premium smartphone experience.
    Fingers crossed for the success of WIndows Phone. Apple force feeds their users, and Android is a laggy, fragmented mess. Honestly, I'd rather see Blackberry succeed more than those two.
  • Look, if WP matches iOS by 12-31-14, I'll give $100. Seriously, I will. Look me up but I'm sure one year from now, WP will be at 7% may be 9%.
  • Yes, but iOS will be at 6%.
  • Hahahahaha yeah sure.
  • I am all for competition man and I would love to have WP, iOS, and Android no more than 10% away from each other (just an example) but c'mon you cant seriously think Apple will sink to 6% lol that would just be odd... on a side note... wow man Android freakin pulled away lol -_- Im rocking a Evo LTE and I KNOW HTC is struggling, Samsung is doing amazing, LG has numbers just like HTC, and Sony and Moto are not near LG and HTC... SO how the hell can Android claim 80% lol dude that's ALOT.
  • Android's marketshare is actually a bit inflated. Keep in mind the number of incredibly cheap, low end Androids that have flooded the market. Apple still dominates in terms of profit and mindshare. Apple has a massive cult following, and they all have blinders installed, so they ignore any and all tech innovations until it's copied by Apple, at with point they rave about how incredible Apple is, and how original they are. The iSheep are not to be underestimated, they are a grave threat.
  • Agreed. I considered myself a HUGE iOS geek/fan but lately I got tired of it and decided to try something new. After 6 years of being a loyal iPhone user I felt it was time to check out a brand new phone and operating system altogether. I had an upgrade so I decided to use it on the Lumia 920 (after much research). Haven't looked back since. I'm seriously flabbergasted as to how underrated Windows OS is. It's absolutely impeccable. I can't find any flaws with it. The Lumia 920 screen is GORGEOUS. I LOVE how fast everything is. The dearth of apps obviously annoys me, but the overall aesthetic and design of the phone, coupled with the awesome camera and operating system outweighs that tiny little con :) 
  • Thanks to Lumia 520
  • Great news. Now lets get more dev support for apps
  • Glad to see MSFT doing good
  • Baby steps.
  • Boy steps.
  • Man-child steps
  • Senior Steps lol
  • dead
  • reborn
  • Like a phoenix born out of the ashes... and the oracle at Delphi divines a future of WP9 with a solid fifteen percent of the market.
  • hm... I think WP this time doesn't support Delphi programming language.
    But I agree with you, WP will reach 15% of the market share, in a matter of months.
  • They got the Nokia numbers slightly wrong.
    Nokia said 7.4 million Lumia sales in their earnings release but IDC is reporting only 7.1 million.
  • Sales vs Shipments is probably the discrepancy, though I guess the numbers should be reversed
  • Actually, sales figures is what determines the success or failute of a device or platform.  Sales are up in countries where the iPhone is not even sold, but in markets like the US, sales and share of the market is down based on the Gartner group numbers which go in detail for every carrier (major or regional, postpaid or prepaid), by device, and operating system.  This logic is used by Blackberry in order to cover the dissappointing sales figures of the Z10 which nearly a million units were shipped and only less than a third were actually sold.
    I undersrand the reasons why people want to see a platform succeed, but the final determining factor will always be total sales, and for those who think the sales factor is wrong, all I can say is take a Business 101 course where you'll learn the facts about the success or failure of a product, as well on learning what the four "P's" are.
  • Pfff, 4 Ps? It's 7Ps these days(or even more if you want to). 
  • Four "P's":
  • Well said... people keep having a problem distinguishing between sales and shipments...
  • You're welcome! :)
  • Yup at the end of the day, profit is all that matters heck everyone strives for profit. They (majority of consumers in general) just don't realise it and call it staying out of debt :P
  • I have seen a ton more people with a Windows Phone here in the UK and it seems that people who have seen my Nokia 620 have at least heard of Windows Phones now.
  • This. Perception and awareness have changed dramatically and sales will follow. While the figures worldwide aren't amazing, what is happening is that Nokia/MS are concentrating on building up presence in key markets (although without much success in the US yet). But here in the UK they've almost reached 10%.
    The app situation has changed markedly in the last 6 months (sure no official Instagram but 3rd party, etc - but otherwise very few big apps/games missing) and I'd say for 95% of people there's plenty in the store to keep them entertained and productive (every big UK bank covered now for instance), plus Nokia have said "pretty much everything missing is on it's way".
    The 1020 is a great showcase, although with it's price it probably won't be a massive seller on it's own, but devices under it like the 625/925/720 should all get a boost from people coming in asking about the 1020. Also boosting things will be big bro Windows 8.1; which is getting much better reviews and improving the "Windows" brand image. GDR2 has given us the 1020 and 625, once we get GDR3 in early Q4 well have a glut of new devices with HD screens, quard core and other crap we really don't need but people think they want. Holiday sales could be unlike anything WP has seen before with those devices in the market if they can make the pricing competitive.
    Then we're into 2014, 8.1/Blue bringing notification center, customisation and all the other features people feel are missing and then it's really game on.
    My take, this time next year once Apple have pulled a bit of a recovery with the cheaper iPhone C Android will have lost it's massive lead and both WP and iOS will be around 20% each with Android dropping down to under 60%. Sorry Blackberry.
  • I hope you're right, but I think 20% is optimistic.  I'll do a cartwheel when wp hits 10%. 
  • I'll bet for 15-25% on the next year.
  • Jeez...I would like that, but I don't think it's plausible. I think 5% by the end of this year will be a challenge. But hopefully the rise feeds back on itself. WP's biggest problem is obscurity. The more phones are sold, the more awareness there is. This is a growing market. Notice that iPhones sales were up by 4 million...but their marketshare dropped. There's lots of room for WP to sell phones, especially in those countries where price is more important.
  • Marketing, marketing and more marketing... All there is to see on tv commercials (Norway) is galaxy, Samsung and more galaxy...
    Haven't seen a Nokia commercial in months.
  • WP will not have 20% anytime soon. Late next year, will still be around 7-10% at most. We've been saying for years that mango, Apollo, Lumia 900, 920 would be the turning points and we've been wrong all along. 20% is going to happen anytime soon without strong commitment from Samsung and HTC.
  • 6 months ago, I was the only one in my office who had a WP. Now, in the 25-30 cubicals around me, there are 6 Lumia 92X devices, which is more than the iphones in that room.
  • Well, same as me in my college, where there are only few people using Windows Phone. But I'm sure, later in time, more people get themselves converted to Windows Phone.
  • That HTC looks lonely surrounded by all the Nokia phones. Lol. Regardless good news for WP in general.
  • Had I thrown in a Samsung, it would have basically represented market share with Nokia having 8 out of 10 devices ;)
  • Ah good point. That would represent a solid "picture" of Windows Phones.
  • New apps are always good, but I have all I need at the moment. What I'd rather see is WP8's destiny not tied to one manufacturer. Nokia has been great in pushing the OS, but until HTC, Samsung, etc take WP8 seriously, it's going to be a slow growth platform.
  • I agree. But Same as Android once the platform grows HTC and Samsung will spend money and resources to bring the good devices.  BB is soon going to be history. They tried but their pricing policy out of whack.
    More marketshare is good for the OS's future.
  • Perhaps true, not having all your eggs in one basket but iOS has only one manufacturer and Samsung seems to have the lion's share of the Android market.  As long as Nokia keeps making high quality high end and low end phones and contribute as they currently do with the echosystem and marketing, then I think all is well...but having a few other manufacturers would be an added bonus.
  • Apple designs and produces their hardware, giving them full control all the way. Not the same as MS being partners with Nokia.
  • I had a thought the other day. If BB can't sustain their own OS sales, what if they started making hardware with WP8? Seems like it would be a similar situation to Nokia a couple years ago. An OS with potential to grow and fewer competitors.
  • MS proposed this to the BB CEO before the release of BB 10, but he wanted to stay with BB 10; which is understandable. It will take some time, but they may come around.
  • @Duff Is there an article about this? Would be a nice read.
  • I can't find the exact article I read, it was over a year ago and I believe it was on WPCentral. But heres what I did find. Not really much to it other than what I said, but here you go:
  • Things are looking up for the Windows Phone platform. Once GDR3 release occurs, hopefully with some necessary features such as the ability to run WP apps on Windows 8, and a central notification system of some sort too (the tiles are a great start but could use more features like notificationhistory) the platform will be a solid contender.
  • There will be some new features in GDR3 along with support for newer hardware but likely no new developer APIs. Those whould be necessary for an improved notification experience. Therefore I don't see that arriving with GDR3 but rather with WP Blue (8.1) in early 2014.
  • You never know, they were talking about bringing some blue features to GDR3.
  • That's stupid. As with WP7 to WP8 was a rewrite of the OS, it will be similar with blue. Therefore if a blue feature is moved back to GDR3, ms needs to code one thing twice. STUPIDITY
  • I completely disagree, blue will be nothing of the sort. WP7 to WP8 was a kernal change, creating a new platform. "Blue," or WP 8.1, will be an update to an existing platform, much like mango or GDR2. Also, I don't believe they would need to recode the same thing twice. Obviously, blue is already in the works; if the code is already there, move it over to GDR3, if it isn't, no harm no foul. The deadlines they have should remain the same. This consideration is happening because people we're complaining that the features weren't coming out fast enough, so this is their solution. I've only seen people say this is a positive, I wouldn't mind more features earlier either.
  • Let's just release blue on the GDR3 date then. No code moving. No rewriting.
  • They're vastly different types of updates. Blue is for features and GDR3, much like GDR2, is for more backend stuff, to allow more types of hardware. Obviously, if blue was ready to be released by the end of the year, it would come out. They're just talking about a handful of features being brought back here, not the entire update.
  • As a brazilian, I have to say that MS is doing a great effort right now in my country. I have some talks to one guy, who is heading the Microsoft team in my country, he said that propagandas in the biggest tv company in prime time started last week. And, yes people are saying how nice is the new Lumia Phones, specially the L920. Although Brazil's market is the most expensive in the world (as for example in the Nokia official site, a lumia 920 costs in my country $950 USD. Really, expensive, but phones like lumia 520 is consider the cheapest dual core phone here (at about 200 $ US). Their efforts are nice and the numbers are growing. And the best I believe is not official propaganda, but our efforts as user to introduce the lumia's phone as true alternative to iOS and Android. My sister went to NY, last week, in spite most of the teenagers usually here in Brazil tends to buy iphones, my sister after a hard talk changed her mind and instead of buying a iphone 5 in US, she bought a lumia 920.  She demonstrated to her friends and now people are seriously considering to buy it too.
    I love my Lumia 800, even that is a 7.8. I love the features.
  • Daniel- look up the law of difusion of innovation. I recognize that this doesn't have anything to do directly with how serious developers take a product. It does, however, show that people are still seen as early adopters/innovators that use such a device. Couple this with the law of averages. Similar to Linux or even OS X support, the more people you can reach, the more likely it will be attractive to developers. Of course, these numbers are terribly skewed when it comes to annual income of said users as Android owns the world market via low end. Thus, we are only now seeing some real 3rd party accessories as opposed to the dozens and dozens of iOS options. Ideally, this will all shift to agnostic standards enabling universal support. I really hope the next iPhone has Qi charging because that would really kick that into faster motion. I mention this because accessories AND apps are obstacles in moving platforms. Thankfully, Android and iOS can help eliminate the accessories barrier.
  • Like I said before.. WINDOWSPHONE IS SUCCEEDING❕❗❕❗❕❗
  • Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if this is for fiscal year calendar 2Q2013, then it would apply to 2nd quarter: 1 January 2013 – 31 March 2013, correct?  If so, then I don't think these numbers reflect the surge we should see with Lumia 520.  I try not to be too optimistic, but I think the 520 is a real game changer for marketshare.
  • Correct. Only the 820 and 920 were released at the time, I believe.
  • So, technically WP MS could be slightly higher at this point❔
  • Considering the 520 was already the most widely used WP after only a few months on the market, then yes, I would say the real marketshare is higher at this point.
  • Only slightly. 0.5-0.8%
    iOS and Android would have sold much faster though in same time period.
  • I think what developers need is to just get these phones in their hands or have someone constantly bugging them to the point where they need to get a restraining order against that person when they start to lose their patience and just need a break from all the annoyance. I'm not talking about harassing anyone in any way, shape or form, just being an outright nuisance... =P
  • Lol
  • How recent are these figures? How many of these Android phones shipped are crap low-end phones ? I am seeing Lumia 520 picking up steadily. This might have a big impact on the market share in the near future. And let's be frank... Lumia 520 beats low end Android hands down.
    They gave my wife an Android crap phone for free. She didn't need it, but decided to use it as a second line. It stopped working after a couple of months. It ran Gingerbread 2.3 and was selling for around 130$. The experience on it was horrible, literally. Many times I just wished smashing it against a wall.
    My wife already had a Windows Phone 8 before they gave her the free phone. She's still in love with her WP8.
    Now how many people cannot afford a high end Android (or iPhone) and were left with no choice but that super crappy Gingerbread experience. Lumia 520 will give these people choice. There is hope.
  • This is pre-520 or right around the same time. Too early to count though which means next quarter's numbers should be real interesting.
  • Looks like the 520 are on the top seller list's almost everywhere :)
  • Yes, not everybody can afford high end phones, that's why Android is so big.. Because they make cheap crappy phones. But the Lumia 520, poses a good challenge to Android. :) The smartphone war is so exciting!
  • Hmm...I wonder what colour of phone does Daniel like... Anyway, yeah is growing but very very little. And Microsoft is the only one to blame for it. Their lack of improvements on WP8 may well be their death sentence. If Apple releases a low cost iPhone, you can bet that the people who are going to Windows Phone for the cheap devices like the L520 will shift to the low-cost iPhone. So they better stop that crap of "enabling new devices like the L1020" because it's not the L1020 that will even make WP grow. It's the L520's and L620's. And those need OS improvements above anything else.
  • Yellow is Daniel's colour.
  • lol yeah, I think we all know =P He's one of the few people I know (actually...the only one) who likes the yellow phones.
  • true,ms is to blame,but 1020 was launched by nokia,to remember to the world that they are the innovative brand in mobile market,and 520 and 620 were launched way before,it is also a message for ms to move its big lazy fat ass and do something with their os whice obviously lacks things and keep nokia back
  • Nokia tries hard. Actually, Nokia is carrying WP on their backs alone. But there's so much they can do.
    MS really needs to move their arses.
  • I agree with both points.
  • Short comment
  • so it looks like the world is going stupid with Android....hackers must be wringing their hands in glee.
  • Lol
  • Lol so true android = epic hacker orgasm xD
  • Hopefully we will see some better support as the potential for growth is certainly there.
  • Changes Windows Phone name to Xbox Phone. The Xbox brand is strong in USA.
  • An Xbox branded phone with an Instagram and or Snapchat app would definitely sell to the college and younger crowd.
  • That's an interesting idea.   I'm not sure that I would do it for the entire WP market, but I wonder if they marketed a variant of a WP device with Xbox branding.
  • You guys really like yellow... /offtopic
  • The invisible barrier is called momentum. XBone, Novembers Nokia phones, and 8.1 will bring that ( or not). A break through to 6% next year is big as is sell through.
  • Momentum is arguably Microsoft's biggest issue and the reason that a lot of consumers dislike MS. While we will see the Xbox One and a new Nokia device in November, we probably won't see WP 8.1 until March or April 2014. That's not fast enough for most people.
  • This is great news! Can't wait to see the numbers at the end of this quarter.
  • well i think it will be better in USA once Nokia releases 1080 P 5 inch quad phone with 41 MP.. lets see then.. USA is mad with specs
  • One can only imagine how the numbers would grow if Samsung and HTC would release NEW WP8 phones. Its been a year since Ativ S, 8S & 8X were announced. What gives? TIME TO MOVE YOUR BUTTS SAMSUNG AND HTC!!!!!!!!!!
  • Sprint just got some new ones, does that count?
  • I'm cheering for blackberry and windows phone to succeed.  We need both to topple the other 2.  I don't want to live in an android/iOS world.
  • Agreed.  More choices means more competition means lower price points for consumers.
  • I can't believe I went to a sprint store yesterday and they told me they do sale WP, but don't have any to show me. Not even a dummy device. One rep didn't even know if they sale WPat the store.. #Shame
  • Wow. "Others" just disappeared :o
  • Lovely 520 will give another boost.
  • Lord I hope WP can begin biting into Androids share. It's beginning to look like MS and Apple against the lumbering giant at 80% market share. Not good.
  • Started from the bottom now we-- oh wait, we're still there.
  • This is amusing.  Here I'm reading that Windows Phone is growing, and being quite successful for the time being.  Yahoo posted an article on how WP8 is failing.  It really is how you look at it.  We see an OS that is growing, but others see an OS with little market presence. 
  • Yahoo still around???
  • 1. Still no ability to save files from email to my phone to resend them, bypa