LONDON: The dominance of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market is being potentially challenged by Motorola's new budget model which has gained a respectable share in the UK in just six months.

According to the latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to February 2014, Motorola has gone from almost nothing to 6% of British sales in just six months thanks to the success of its Moto G, launched in November 2013.

"It highlights the speed at which a quality budget phone can disrupt a market," said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "The same pattern can be seen in France with Wiko, which has 8.3% share, and Xiaomi in China with 18.5%," he added.

The emergence of low-cost smartphones was a theme running through the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Warc reported. Todd Thiessen, svp/strategy, Razorfish, noted that few people used all the capabilities their handset offered and that some companies were now focused on making the important features available at a price accessible to new markets and audiences.

The data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech further showed that the Moto G has attracted a very specific consumer profile, at least in the UK. Almost half of owners are aged between 16 and 24, 83% are male and generally they come from lower income groups with 40% earning under £20,000.

"With virtually no existing customers to sell to in Britain, the Moto G has stolen significant numbers of low-mid end customers from Samsung and Nokia Lumia," said Sunnebo.

He further observed that the smartphone market was becoming increasingly commoditised, with penetration at 70% in February and 86% of devices sold in the preceding three months being smartphones. Tech-savvy consumers were now basing their choices on a mix of handset cost and online reviews.

"Some 40% of British consumers are heavily influenced by internet reviews when deciding which mobile to buy and 48% of Moto G sales were made online," he noted.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech; additional content by Warc staff