Smartphone quarterly shipments exceed feature phones for the first time

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Smartphone quarterly shipments exceed feature phones for the first time

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 4 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2013 as smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time.

According to research firm IDC, vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in Q1 2013 compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.

In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2 million units in 1Q13, which marked the first time more than half (51.6%) the total phone shipments in a quarter were smartphones. The market grew 41.6% compared to the 152.7 million units shipped in 1Q12, but 5.1% lower than the 227.8 million units shipped in 4Q12.

"Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones."

Meanwhile, Samsung increased its lead at the top as a flood of cheaper phones lifted its total shipments to 115 million. Samsung's share of the overall mobile market stood at 27.5 percent.

Sales of the iPhone 5 helped Apple's volumes grow 6.6 percent to 37.4 million phones in the quarter from a year earlier, as its share of the market increased marginally to 8.9 percent.

(Also see: Samsung increases smartphone market share as Apple falters)

"In addition to smartphones displacing feature phones, the other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry (then Research In Motion), and HTC among the top five. While those companies have been in various stages of transformation since, Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones."

Total mobile shipments

Vendor

1Q13 Unit Shipments (millions)

1Q13 Market Share

1Q12 Unit Shipments (millions)

1Q12 Market Share

Year-over-year Change

Samsung

115.0

27.5%

93.6

23.3%

22.9%

Nokia

61.9

14.8%

82.7

20.6%

-25.1%

Apple

37.4

8.9%

35.1

8.7%

6.6%

LG

15.4

3.7%

13.7

3.4%

12.4%

ZTE

13.5

3.2%

16.2

4.0%

-16.5%

Others

175.4

41.9%

161.1

40.0%

8.9%

Total

418.6

100.0%

402.4

100.0%

4.0%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, April 25, 2013

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