SEOUL-- Sales of smartphones through online platforms in South Korea remain sluggish compared with other countries, data showed Wednesday, due mainly to strong dominance of mobile carriers in the mobile phone market.

According to the data compiled by Strategy Analytics, the sales of smartphones through online platforms in the country are expected to take up 17.2 percent, or 3.8 million units of the total sales estimated at 22.1 million units in South Korea this year.

Of the amount, the sales of smartphones through online distributors that are not manufacturers or mobile carriers are estimated at 1.3 percent, or 300,000 units, the market tracker added.

Market watchers said the sluggish sales of smartphones through online distributors are attributable to the strong presence of the country's three mobile carriers in the retail market. The limited sales platforms eventually leads to higher prices for consumers, they added.

The researcher added the global sales of smartphones through online platforms is expected to reach 22.2 percent this year, rising sharply from 14 percent posted in 2013.

The global sales of smartphones through online distributors that are not manufacturers or mobile carriers are set to reach 12.1 percent this year, it said. Of 30 countries surveyed, only South Korea and Japan held a 1 percent level figure in the sector.

"There is a limit for online firms to expand sales due to the high barrier of mobile carriers," an industry insider said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency