The global mobile phone market grew by 19.8pc year over year in the first quarter of 2011, according to research from IDC.
The research revealed that mobile vendors shipped 371.8m units in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 310.5m units in the first quarter of 2010.
This growth was helped by the smartphone market, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia/Pacific, excluding Japan.
In Western Europe, iPhones and Android smartphones helped grow the market in a normally slow quarter, thanks to devices from HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Alcatel, Huawei and ZTE Android phones helped the mid-tier segment sales and feature phones shipments receded. Nokia and RIM also performed well in Western Europe.
In the US, the iPhone and the HTC Thunderbolt drove the smartphone market, with more feature phones losing ground.
Top 5 vendors
Globally, the top 5 phone vendors were Nokia, Samsung, LG, Apple and ZTE.
IDC found that Nokia’s Symbian phones continued to be warmly received, with the introduction of the E6 and X7. IDC will keep an eye on how quickly Nokia can introduce new phones in the competitive market.
Samsung experienced a record shipment volume for quarter one, closing the gap against Nokia. Feature phones were still the majority of its shipments, with smartphones accounting for a fifth of its total volumes.
LG unit shipments declined on a year-over-year basis, most notably seen in Europe. It’s aiming to make smartphone gains in this quarter with the release of new devices.
Apple’s record quarter helped it maintain the No 4 spot and ZTE’s growth in China and Latin America placed it at No 5.
“Several notable vendors, including feature phone makers, outpaced the overall market, which contributed to share losses of some top suppliers,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.
“The growth of companies outside the top 5 vendors – vendors in the ‘Others’ category, such as Micromax, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei and Research In Motion – shows that the overall market is still very much ripe for share gains.”
Senior research analyst Ramon Llamas pointed out that while the feature phone market represented the majority of mobile phone shipments, they were still under huge pressure from smartphones.
IDC expects the worldwide mobile phone growth to be driven by smartphones up to 2015.