Sales of smartphones outpaced those of feature phones during the most recent quarter for the first time ever. The surge was led by Samsung which sold more than 71 million units, an increase of nearly 30 percent compared to the year-ago period. Apple finished in second place with roughly 32 million iPhones sold according to data from market research firm Gartner.

Specifically, Gartner found that smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter. It's clear at this point that Samsung has a sizable lead in the global smartphone race but according to Gartner's principal research analyst Anshul Gupta, they shouldn't rest on their laurels.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2Q13 Units 2Q13 Market
Share (%)
2Q12 Units 2Q12 Market
Share (%)
Samsung 71,380.9 31.7 45,603.8 29.7
Apple 31,899.7 14.2 28,935.0 18.8
LG Electronics 11,473.0 5.1 5,827.8 3.8
Lenovo 10,671.4 4.7 4,370.9 .8
ZTE 9,687.6 4.3 6,331.4 4.1
Others 90,213.6 40.0 62,704.0 40.8
Total 225,326.2 100.0 153,772.9 100.0

The analyst encouraged Samsung to be more aggressive with regard to midrange and emerging market devices, noting that innovation cannot be limited to the high end.

Apple realized record iPhone sales during the quarter but their average selling price dropped as new smartphone buyers are increasingly opting for cheaper models like the iPhone 4 instead of the current flagship handset. This, according to Gupta, demonstrates the need for a new flagship model which is expected as early as next month.

The analyst isn't as sure about the rumored cheaper iPhone 5C, however, as it would likely lead to increased cannibalization of high-end iPhones primarily because it'd be seen as a new device on the market with new hype.

LG, Lenovo and ZTE rounded out the top five smartphone manufacturers, in that order. In terms of smartphone sales, Nokia didn't make the list although they still place second when considering overall mobile phone sales.

You might recall a similar report from competing market research firm IDC earlier this year. It's worth pointing out that IDC's report claimed smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time while Gartner notes smartphones outsold feature phones.