CLICK HERE: free registration for Semiconductor Today and Semiconductor Today ASIACLICK HERE: free registration for Semiconductor Today and Semiconductor Today ASIA

29 April 2013

Quarterly smartphone shipments exceed feature phones for first time

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 4% year-on-year in the seasonally slow first quarter of 2013 as smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time, according to the International Data Corp (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in first-quarter 2013 compared to 402.4 million units in first-quarter 2012 and 483.2 million units in fourth-quarter 2012.

In the smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2 million units in Q1/2013, which marked the first time more than half (51.6%) the total phone shipments in a quarter were smartphones. Shipments grew 41.6% compared to the 152.7 million units in Q1/2012, but were 5.1% lower than the 227.8 million units in Q4/2012.

“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,” says 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,” he adds. 

“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,” notes 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,” he adds. “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.”

Smartphone vendor highlights

Samsung maintained the position it held at the end of 2012: the undisputed leader in the worldwide smartphone market. By the end of Q1/2013, Samsung shipped more units than the next four vendors combined. The firm revealed its highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 with new features including display, camera, WiFi and security innovations. What remains to be seen is how Samsung’s new Tizen-powered smartphones will look and feel later this year, and fit into the firm’s overall smartphone portfolio.

Apple's smartphone shipment volume hit a new first-quarter high thanks in part to the iPhone 5, with volume growing 6.6% year-on-year. However, the last time the iPhone maker posted a single-digit year-on-year growth rate was Q3/2009. The iPhone maker has held the second spot in the smartphone rankings for the past five quarters. Apple’s mix of models shipped to market is increasingly diversified as it tries to reach new buyers.

LG returned to the smartphone Top 5 after a two-quarter absence, reaching record shipments in the process. Its smartphone volume was driven in large part by its 3G smartphone portfolio, namely the L series and the Nexus 4. LTE-enabled devices, including the Optimus G series, also contributed to its success. LG hopes to continue its upward trajectory with the launch of the F and L series, targeting the mid-range and entry-level segments.

Huawei has shown significant improvement from where it was a year ago, when it offered a handful of Ascend smartphones and had more limited presence outside the Asia/Pacific region. Since then Huawei has decreased its dependence on re-branded feature phones while growing its Ascend portfolio to address multiple customer segments with more branded smartphone offerings. The firm nearly doubled its unit shipments to regions outside of Asia/Pacific this past quarter when compared to Q1/2012.

ZTE’s Q1/2013 performance continued the trends established last year, with a strong showing in Asia/Pacific and North America, but a small presence in EMEA and Latin America despite its previous success with low-end feature phones there. With a target of increasing smartphone revenue by 30% this year, ZTE will try to grow in North America and Europe. In China, where increasing price pressure has challenged vendors to grow profitably, ZTE will emphasize its higher-price products. In addition, ZTE will be among the first companies to launch a Firefox-powered smartphone this year, says IDC.

Table 1: Top five smartphone vendors, shipments and market share, Q1/2013 (units in millions).

Vendor Q1/13 unit shipments Q1/13 market share Q1/12 unit shipments Q1/12 market share Year-on-year change
Samsung 70.7 32.7% 44 28.8% 60.7%
Apple 37.4 17.3% 35.1 23% 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% 49.2%
Others 78.8 36.4% 57.5 37.7% 37%
Total 216.2 100.0% 152.7 100.0% 41.6%

Table 2: Top five total mobile phone vendors, shipments and market share, Q1/2013 (units in millions).

Vendor Q1/13 unit shipments Q1/13 market share Q1/12 unit shipments Q1/12 market share Year-on-year change
Samsung 115 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% -16.5%
Others 175.4 41.9% 161.1 40% 8.9%
Total 418.6 100.0% 402.4 100.0% 4%

Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

See related items:

Smartphone growth of 45% for Q3 drives mobile market, led by Samsung

Samsung captures record 35% share of 162 million smartphone shipments in Q3

Tags: Smartphone shipments


See Latest IssueRSS Feed