The article below documents the fast pace of smartphones' growth and shows that for the first quarter of 2013, the sales of smartphones surpassed feature phones. Smartphone growth is driven by access to fingertip computing anywhere, anytime (see 2010 articleFour Billion Cell Users : Computing Power Anytime, Anyplace).
Between the five top vendors, Apple lost market share and had the smallest increase of growth between 2012 and 2013. This is due to the growth in emerging countries where the iPhone is too expensive relative to other smartphones. It is not likely that Apple will introduce an inexpensive iPhone in China considering the tough price competition it would face from the much cheaper Android phones. People in emerging countries are more price conscious. Apple will want to maintain its high quality brand and its higher pricing and is likely to repeat its Mac vs PC history see the 2008 story -Are iPhone and Android Smart Phones Repeating the History of Mac vs. PC in the 80s
The fast growth of smartphones in 2012 and 2013 by Huawei, ZTE, CoolPad, and other companies in emerging countries was made possible by the chips manufactured by MediaTek (see January story about MediaTek Apples' Cook in China (MediaTek Impact)).
April 28, 2013
In the first quarter of 2013, smartphones accounted for more than half of phone makers' shipments worldwide. Samsung remained the top dog, but LG, Huawei, and ZTE all saw big gains.
LG returned to IDC's smartphone Top 5 in the first quarter of 2013 with record-high shipments, riding a strong interest in its LTE-enabled devices, including the Optimus G.
It seemed inevitable, and now it has happened: for the first time ever, feature phones have taken a backseat to smartphones in terms of quantities shipped.
In the first quarter of 2013, device makers shipped 216.2 million smartphones worldwide, a volume that accounted for 51.6 percent of total global shipments and that marked the first time smartphones have claimed more than half of all quarterly shipments, according to market researcher IDC.
The smartphone market grew 41.6 percent compared with the first quarter of 2012, but declined 5.1 percent from the shipment tally for the fourth quarter of 2012. The first quarter of the year typically sees a slowdown, especially in comparison with the holiday-shopping-filled fourth quarter.
The first quarter saw a total of 418.6 million mobile phones -- both smartphones and the less-powerful feature phones -- shipped worldwide, IDC said Thursday.
"Phone users want computers in their pockets," IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement. "The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away."
Samsung continued to exert its dominance during the quarter, shipping 70.7 million smartphones for year-over-year growth of 60.7 percent. Second-place Apple shipped 37.4 million iPhones, up 6.6 percent. Other phone makers saw some seriously big surges: Rounding out the top five, LG shipped 10.3 million smartphones (up 110 percent), Huawei shipped 9.9 million (up 94 percent), and ZTE shipped 9.1 million (up 49 percent).
"A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry (then Research In Motion), and HTC among the top five," said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas. "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."
The gains by the Android device makers didn't do any favors for Apple's global smartphone market share during the first quarter, which declined to 17.3 percent from 23 percent in the year-earlier quarter. Samsung's market share rose to 32.7 percent (up from 28.8 percent), while LG, Huawei, and ZTE saw their slices of the market inch up into the 4 percent range.
copyright 2013 Ron Maltiel all rights reserved