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Report: Nokia Lumia 520 and low cost devices dominating global Windows Phone adoption

Latest data from AdDuplex shows the Lumia 520 owning 33% of the Windows Phone global market; Nokia inches closer to 90% dominance

Another month, another very informative report from AdDuplex. As the largest cross-promotion network on Windows Phone and Windows 8, AdDuplex has been a solid source of data to get a bird’s eye view of the Windows Phone platform.  

What can we learn from the data from the past month? Globally, Windows Phone 8 is now on over 70% of handhelds running Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Read on for more insights into the world of Windows Phone.

Flagships don’t move platforms

Worldwide Windows Phone 8 Devices

While you and I are always looking for the next high-end Windows Phone device, that device isn’t going to save Window Phone. No, instead the unsung heroes that will propel Windows Phone to victory are devices like the Lumia 520. It’s a device not many people reading our site would have at the top of their list for Christmas, but it’s the device that controls a staggering 32.8% of Windows Phone 8 handsets worldwide. Up next is the Lumia 920 at 12.9% and the Lumia 620 also at 12.9%.

New devices like the Lumia 925 and 1020 don’t really even matter when it comes to Windows Phone handsets worldwide. Instead, it is inexpensive handsets like the Lumia 520 and 620 that will gain marketshare for the platform and in turn attract developers.

Nokia is still King of the Hill

Manufacturers

When it comes to OEMs making Windows Phone, it any surprise that Nokia is on top? Their entire future depending on the success of Windows Phone before Microsoft announced plans to buy them. Going forward we don’t expect that outlook to really change. Last month Nokia controlled nearly 90% of the OEM market at 88.4%. That didn’t change this month as Nokia crept toward that 9-0 mark by moving up 89.2%. Maybe next month we’ll see them past that mark.

Lumia 521 surges in the United States

Windows Phone devices US Oct 2013

We’re not surprised that devices like the Lumia 520 are selling like hotcakes globally in emerging markets, but what is surprising is the success it’s seeing here in the United States. Yes, the land of 2-year contracts is seeing explosive growth with prepaid devices like the Lumia 520 and Lumia 521.

T-Mobile recently gained 685,000 new customers for the second quarter of 2013, that was more than AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon combined. Somewhere in those new customers a few much of picked up a Lumia 521. Last month the device controlled 14.2% of the US market and was second to the Lumia 822. Since then, the Lumia 521 has surged ahead to the top with 19.2% of marketshare for Windows Phone in the United States. The Lumia 822 dropped to second, while the Lumia 920 comes in third place. However, the Lumia 520 on AT&T has only 5.2% of the marketshare.

Carriers US

The carriers are also duking it out in the United States. AT&T has clawed back to come on top with 31.8%, while Verizon and T-Mobile bring up the rear with 30.7% and 20.7% respectively. Sprint is nowhere to be see, but MetroPCS does claim 6.8% of Windows Phone users in the United States. They also carry the Lumia 521, which is where the big boost for the device could have also came from.

Windows Phone around the world

Every other phone should just give up and let the Lumia 520 carry Windows Phone into the future. For real, the device controls 32.8% of the Windows Phone marketshare. That dominance comes up when you look at most countries around the globe. Here are some markets to check out:

Windows Phone Canada

In Canada, the Lumia 920 and 520 are basically neck and neck for the top position. The Lumia 920 takes up 17.5% marketshare, while the Lumia 520 sits just half a percent below at 17.0% of marketshare. Bringing up third place is the Samsung ATIV S, something we’re not familiar with seeing towards the top of any marketshare lists with Windows Phone.

In France we see the Lumia 520 at 32.7%, the HTC 8S at 13.1% and the Lumia 920 at 10.6%. What’s interesting here is the surge of the Lumia 520. In the past, the budget friendly HTC 8S was very popular, but has succumbed to the Lumia 520 at last.

Windows Phone India

In India, inexpensive devices are king. The Lumia 520 controls the marketshare there with 40.6%, while the Lumia 720 (mid-range device) comes in at 13. 4%, and finally the Lumia 620 sits beneath the Lumia 720 at 10.8%. It’s really no surprise that the top three Windows Phone handsets in India are affordable. Devices like the Lumia 520 will continue to own emerging markets where price is more of a concern than how many megapixels your sensors has.

For the last bit of data let’s look at Brazil. It’s a super unique country when it comes to Windows Phone. Why? Because Windows Phone has seen massive success there compared to other countries. In fact, the king of the hill down in South American isn’t a Windows Phone 8 device, it’s instead the Lumia 710. As you’ll recall, the Lumia 710 is running Windows Phone 7 and commands 33.1% of the Windows Phone marketshare down there. Up next is the Lumia 520 at 24.7 percent and in third is the Lumia 800 at 11.1%. Two of the top three handsets in Brazil are running Windows Phone 7, that’s crazy.

Looking ahead

What’s the next report going to look like? Well that’s tough to say. The Lumia 520 will probably continue its path towards world domination. But a month from now we’ll be seeing some new devices from Nokia hit the market. Those won’t make a big impact (or any at all) on the next report since there probably won’t be enough time for them to saturate the market. What will be interesting is to see how many users and developers download GDR3 before it’s released to the general public.

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 October 11, 2013. You'll be able to view the full report once it's published tomorrow over on the AdDuplex website.

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Reader comments

Report: Nokia Lumia 520 and low cost devices dominating global Windows Phone adoption

96 Comments

As usual - for those who hate - FIRST lol
On a serious note - if Lumia 620 were to have a better battery life, it would have been on the top i guess

620 would be the top seller if it were cheaper than the 520... Has nothing to do with battery. By that logic, my cell phone from 2001, with 1+ week battery life would still be on top.

I really hope you're not responsible in any way for Windows Phone manufacturing, design or marketing. Lol.

All of these percentages are nice, but it would be really great to have some actual numbers.. Some real numbers, like how many 520/521 have actually been sold worldwide❔ 3Mill, 50Mill, 678 million❔❔

AdDuplex is treating it like an opinion poll. Not every Windows Phone is running apps that use AdDuplex, so they're just hoping those that are running apps that use AdDuplex are a representative sample. I don't believe I ran any AdDuplex apps on October 11th, so my Lumia 1020 probably wasn't counted, for example, but if the sample is representative then it doesn't need to be. In fact, if the sample is representative, it's better that I didn't! ;-)

We only hate "first" posts when it contributes nothing to the conversation. You made a point, so you're safe... For now ;)

I would've happily bought an 8X if it had microSD. No way I'm going to buy another 16 GB device. Both HTC & Nokia refuse to put them in their flagship models.... I just don't understand why

Uh, my Lumia 820 has a microSD slot. Don't know what you're talking about. And very few HTC phones have microSD slots, Android included.

Doesn't matter to me as long as the phone has at least 32GB internal storage. HTC One here I come!

"Flagship" refers to the top models for each manufacturer: 920, 8X and ATIV were the flagship models at launch. ATIV was the only one with microSD. The 920 had 32 GB, but I still don't feel like it's enough. I want 32 GB + microSD, or 64 GB minimum. .
The 820 is considered mid-range. The 925 & 1020 are also considered "flagship", and once again don't have microSD.

In Canada, the Ativ S outsold the HTC 8X because three of the four biggest carriers (Rogers, Bell, and Telus) carried it, whereas fewer carried the HTC 8X. A shame because the 8X showed more innovation than the Ativ S. Not that I'm slagging the Ativ S, since it has the biggest screen and best battery life of any of the WP8 flagship. I went with the Lumia 920 myself, which is pentaband in Canada BTW.

I guess 1020 is not that popular since on all the graphs it's not listed aka others. From all Windows Phones I've tested only 2 models were awesome - 920 and 1020. 

Makes me even more proud to own a 1020! I hate having the same phone as everyone else...plus, it's the best phone I've ever owned!

3 things about the 1020
1) Up until recently it has been on a very limited release on a single carrier in the US, and even then it has only been out a month while many other devices listed here are coming up on a year. Most of the rest of the world has not had access to the 1020 until this week.
2) As awesome as the 1020 is, it is a borderline gimmick device. An awesome device to be sure, but outside of the nice camera you are looking at a lumia 925 at a higher price point. Camera enthusiests will go for it for the camera upgrade, but for most people a 900 series device is a better choice.
3) The 1020 is a bit slow on the camera due to the duel core CPU and older GPU. The 41MP camera was just about literally hacked in to make it work. I think that a lot of people are waiting for a GDR3 device with a newer CPU and GPU which will run a large camera a bit better. Also it is difficult to appreciate such amazing pictures without a 1080p display, so again it is another reason to wait. A true 41MP successor to the 1020 will probably not be out for a while yet, but I think that most people will be happy with better specs and a smaller 12-20MP camera, and that is what they are waiting on.

Once you got used to the 41MP camera, it is difficult to settle with anything less.  My next phone upgrade would have to be a Snapdragon 800 version of L1020.  There is simply no other choice.  :)

I agree with all your points except the 1080p part. On a sub 5" device, those picture will look the same. The only benefit is that video will play in it's native resolution. However, even then you won't be able to tell the difference.

The Lumia 1020 has twice the RAM of the 925 also, it's not just the better camera. And I think future software updates will significantly improve the time it takes to process photos.

The few carriers in Canada that carry Lumia products heavily push the 520 for their prepaid line-up, and rightfully so. Most user reviews rate the device quite favourably. I know my mom really likes Nokia devices, having used their flip phones in the past, so for her, if she wants to own another Nokia device in the future (keeping in mind that she only uses her cell phone really for texting), then the 520 is a perfect low-cost option for her.

Most carriers in Canada push the Lumia 520 as a $0 on contract smartphone, not a prepaid device. Telus, Rogers, Cityfone, etc., all primarily offer it for post-paid.

That's because Verizon's selection of WP8 phones is piddly.  25 Android phones and only 3 Windows Phones.  To top it off only 1 Nokia phone now.  They no longer show the L822 on their web site.

One in every 3 *used* are 520s. That means *more* than 1 in 3 sold are 520s, since these are cumulative numbers (note the WP7 handsets that still show up, though in declining numbers).

I agree, but you gotta look at other metrics too. For example, how likely is a 520/521 owner to spend money on apps vs someone with a higher end device? Or is that demographic desirable for advertisers at all, when it comes to ad supported apps? It might not be worth it to spend money and/or compromise performance of an app to reach the 520/521 users. And I say this with a heavy heart and hope I'm wrong, given that I use a 521 myself.:)

That's true... Are they buying a cheap phone because that's all they can afford, and therefore less likely to spend cash on apps OR did they just buy a cheap phone as a first smartphone or to test the WP waters, but will actually happily spend money on apps....

AdDuplex focuses on cheap/free ad-supported apps, so what these numbers say to me is that 512MB devices should be considered standard for those.

I started in WP with a 520 which I bought because it was cheap. I now have a 925 and 1020 so this method of gaining customers and driving sales works.

Does Dan insist with an iron fist that you always use a picture of a phone with a picture of him on the "Me" tile?

I bought a 520 for travel, the combination of low cost and micro SD expansion makes it awesome. Works great, excellent battery life, and if no flash doesn't bother you not a bad camera. I'm not surprised it does well.

Agreed. I'm a 521 user and love it. I don't care about the flash, but the lack of a front facing camera is the only real drawback to me.

Both 925 and 1020 are overpriced outside the us in countries where contracts are not that common, hence the rise of the 520 and the rest of the lower/mid end. I mean, only now that the 920 is turning 1 yo and is approaching an average 300€ off contract will people start to see it as a real option. I get that WP needs premium devices priced accordingly, but I would be happy to get a great data plan and pay 100€ for the phone itself, instead of paying 550€ out of 600€ with a 40€ monthly for 2y on a 1gb allowance (made up numbers, but close enough)

I've owned a 520 for a few months now, and love it. The expanded storage, gives me plenty of music space, and it's smooth as silk most the day. Love the fact that the battery takes you through the whole day as well. It's a great device, can't say enough about it, honestly.

The 520 has an awful screen.  Took mine back after 2 days.  I hope newcomers don't think it's indicative of WP hardware quality in general.

Is there any correlation between ad-supported games and apps (AdDuplex) and people who buy low-cost phones? Perhaps their sample is skewed towards people less willing, or able, to pay for apps? It would be interesting to compare with statistics from Microsoft or Nokia, if they shared them.

This info confirms what I had always believed. Nokia understands the cellfone market better than Microsoft. Their attack on the market is 2-pronged, one on the entry level and one on the highend. With the 520 they made the transition from feature fones to smartfones very inexpensive. And they continue to up it with the reported 525 in Abu Dhabi. On the highend the line-up in Abu Dhabi takes away all excuses for any would-be smartfone buyer not to at least put a Nokia device in their short list (diff screen sizes, etc.).
I am almost certain that after the release of the AbuDhabi devices there will be a substantial price drop of the L1020 and it will reach the levels that the L920 is in right now.
Couple all these with GDR2/GDR3/BittersweetShimmer/8.1....... and we are rocking.

I recently purchased the Lumia 521 (which is basically a variant of the 520) for my father and he loves it. Being a senior citizen, the device is much easier for him to understand and also see text messages on a large 4 inch screen. Thank you Nokia and Microsoft for making a device that helps me connect to my family and making his life easier without breaking the bank! :)

I have a yellow Lumia 520 myself. Great device - with compromises though, but fair compromises considering how dirt cheap it is right now! I've only ever seen YELLOW Lumias out and about, not surprised :D

You can still use Bing Maps, as they're in the OS, just hidden. WPCentral did an article showing how to restore the "hard link" to Bing Maps. Then you'll have them both. :-)

Here in Brazil, the Windows Phone 7.x domination was because lots of carries and shops were selling in an atrattive price before Lumia 520 launch.

I'm paying $260/mo to ATT for four lines and am *this* close to jumping to T-Mobile or MetroPCS for their 4 lines @$100/mo. I saw above that one of these is avail on MetroPCS but what other Nokia phones would work on either of these carriers? I've got a 1020; can it be unlocked to work with either and if so, which one and how would I do it? Right now, I'd probably make the ETFs back in six months of service (if not sooner). Anybody out there have experience with either of these providers using a Win8 handset? Data reliability/speed? Voice clarity/connection? Anybody have experience with them in Orlando market? So ready to jump ship at this price difference...

I believe the Rogers 1020 works on T-Mobile (U.S.) 4G, but that the best you'll get out of an AT&T 1020 is 3G on T-Mobile (U.S.). Any pentaband (or AWS specific) Windows Phone will work great on T-Mobile.

Why doesnt nokia do like google does the nexus and give us a beautiful, unlocked, carrier optional, and flat rate device?

I am wondering about actual numbers. The ones I am most curious about are HTC's total smartphone numbers and Nokia's total smartphone numbers. As HTC has had so much difficulty in sales it would seem that Nokia must be getting close in units sold.

I'm not surprised the Ativ S is doing well in Canada. It was on more carriers than the Lumia 920 and is a great phone. I know 3 people who own Ativ S phones and love them (meanwhile I owned a Lumia 920 and sold it).

620 should be on top of all if these device is the same price in 520 because it has dual cam and flash removable battery and has sd card. This device is complete like cute girl.

It didn't penetrate as much since the phone is currently exclusive to AIO atleast in the US. AIO is still growing its customer base.

Lumia 520 is my first wp8 device. And loving it so far.
I have Nexus 4 too...
Thinking of upgrading my 520 next year.

Does AdDuplex advertise in advance what day they're doing it? I could make sure I use at least one AdDuplex app that day if I knew. Of course, that could make the results less randomn and representative. :-)

Those Lumia 920s come November will drop significantly and the 1520 and/or the 929 will take its place, since these are the true upgrades to the 920.

I usually don't mind too much, but good lord Sam, at lease proof read your articles before you post them:
"it any surprise that Nokia is on top?"
"a few much of picked up a Lumia 521"
"could have also came from"
Those are just the blatant ones. I know that your articles have more of a conversational style of writing, in which the rules of grammar are largely ignored, but you're better than this.