IDC numbers shows smartphones out shipping feature phones

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IDC has released its traditional quarterly stats on the smartphone world, showing that 216 million devices were sold between January and March 2013, growing by 41.6% from the 152.7 million smartphones shipped a year ago in Q1 2012. Furthermore, for the first time the number of smartphones shipped exceeded the 202 million feature phones shipped in the same quarter.

Samsung, Apple, LG, Huawei, and ZTE make up to the top five smartphone manufacturers, with some of the traditional manufacturers pushed down to lower rankings, as they go through transformation strategies: Sony (6th), BlackBerry (7th), Nokia (8th), HTC (9th). LG's better than expected figures are a result of strong sales of the Nexus 4 and L series product line. The Chinese manufacturers enjoyed strong growth as they expanded outside of their home markets.

From the press release:

"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."

"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."

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q2 2012 (Units in Millions) 

Vendor Q1 2013 Unit Shipments Q1 2013 Market Share Q1 2012 Unit Shipments Q1 2012 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Samsung 70.7 32.7% 44.0 28.0% 60.7%
Apple 37.4 17.3% 35.1 23.0% 6.6%
LG 10.3 4.8% 4.9 3.2% 110.2%
Huawei 9.9 4.6% 5.1 3.3% 94.1%
ZTE 9.1 4.2% 6.1 4.0% 49.2%
Others 78.8 36.4% 57.5 37.7% 37%
Total 216.2 100.0% 152.7 100.0% 41.6%


Smartphone shipments and market share over time

The chart below, based on IDC data, information from manufacturers and our own research, shows smartphone shipments over the last two and half years. The key trend over the last year has been the continued dominance of Samung, the rise of the Chinese manufactuerers, and the broadening of the smartphone manufacturer base (i.e. more companies producing smartphones).

Samsung and Apple are clearly the dominant players in the smartphone space, combined they account for one out of every two smartphones shipped in the last quarter. Samsung alone ships more smartphones that the next four biggest manufacturers combined.

The chart also offers an illustration of the fall in shipments of Nokia, RIM, and HTC. All three were in the top five smartphone manufacturers a year ago, but have since been displaced by Huawei, ZTE, and LG.

Smartphone sales

The chart below shows the same data, but expressed as smartphone market share, which makes it easier to see relative performance over time.

Smartphone market share

Source / Credit: IDC