More smartphones sold in Q1 than feature phones – IDC

26 Apr 2013

Smartphones have overtaken feature phones for the first time. According to IDC, more than half the mobile phones shipped worldwide in the first quarter (51.6pc) were smartphones.

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 4pc year over year in the seasonally slow first quarter of 2013.

According to IDC, vendors shipped 418.6m mobile phones in Q1 this year compared to 402.4m units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2m units in the fourth quarter of 2012.

In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2m units in Q1 of 2013, which marked the first time more than half (51.6pc) the total phone shipments in a quarter were smartphones.

The market grew 41.6pc compared to the 152.7m units shipped in Q1 of 2012, but 5.1pc lower than the 227.8m units shipped in the final quarter of 2012.

Balance of power in mobile has shifted to the smartphone


“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.”

Samsung is the undisputed leader in the mobile market – by volume – having shipped 115m devices in the first quarter and achieving a 27.5pc market share globally. It shipped more devices than the next four vendors combined.

Nokia shipped 61.9m mobile phones in the first quarter and had a 14.8pc marketshare.

Apple’s smartphone shipment volume hit a new first quarter high, thanks to the iPhone. A total of 37.4m iPhone devices were shipped during the first quarter, giving the company an 8.9pc share of the mobile phone market worldwide.

“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 5.

“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,” Llamas said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years