Print 13 comment(s) - last by Mitch101.. on Apr 29 at 4:21 PM

IDC figures show a changing of the guard

Smartphone sales have been on the rise for nearly a decade now, and they're not done yet.  The assault of phones equipped with full-fledged browsers, cameras, apps, touch screens, and more continues to cannibalize the market for traditional "feature phones" -- handsets that lack many of these features.

According to the International Data Corp. (IDC) Q1 2013 was a historic one, marking the first time smartphone sales surpassed feature phone sales.  In Q1 216.2 million smartphones were sold, versus only 202.4 million feature phones.  Smartphone shipments were up 41.6 percent from the 152.7 million sold in Q1 2012, and fell just short of (5.1 percent lower than) holiday Q4 2012.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) and Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, Inc. (AAPL) continue to be the most dominant forces in the smartphone industry.  Together they accounted for precisely half (108.1 million) of all smartphone shipments.

Q1 2013 smartphone shipments

Samsung continues to outsell Apple approximately 2-to-1, moving 70.7 million handsets in the quarter, versus the 37.4 million sold by Apple.

Aside from the perennial favorites, the biggest winner for the quarter was South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. (KSC:066570) who leapt into third after spending two quarters exiled outside the top five.  The key to LG's success was strong sales of the Nexus 4 Android smartphone, along with other handsets like the Optimus G.

Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 helped propel LG back into the top five in a big way. [Image Source: Google]

In fourth and fifth place were Chinese Android phonemakers Huawei Technologies Comp. (SHE:002502) and ZTE Corp. (SHE:000063), respectively.  Both Chinese OEMs are reportedly focused on growing their market share outside of China and the rest of the Asian Pacific region.  While primarily an Android phonemaker, ZTE is looking to shake things up later this year launching a Firefox Linux-based phone, a fresh challenger to Android's global hegemony.

Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, notes that the quarter was full of big winners -- and big losers.  He comments, "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.  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."

So while the top held steady, there was an eye-catching changing of the guard this quarter in the bottom ranks.

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Let the spin
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/26/2013 10:42:19 AM , Rating: 1

RE: Let the spin
By retrospooty on 4/26/2013 10:50:35 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, let me beat Tony to the punch and just say it... Apple made more profit... Because that is really what we call care about when we go to but a phone, is how much profit the manufacturer makes. There, now that is out of the way.

Dang... Its a few days old, but I just saw this video on the S4 and its Gorilla Glass 3. That and I saw a video review somewhere of the eye scrolling. It looked like it works perfectly, so i can eat my pizza and not greasy up my screen ;) I wasnt wanting an S4, but now I kind of am...

RE: Let the spin
By BRB29 on 4/26/2013 11:02:55 AM , Rating: 1
until you realize it's draining your battery because it's using the camera.

RE: Let the spin
By retrospooty on 4/26/2013 11:06:40 AM , Rating: 2
It's not going to be on 24/7, it would only be on when you enable it and are in an app that requires scrolling. Otherwise like everything else on a phone, it sleeps. I leave my bluetooth, wifi, GPS, location awareness and everything else on constantly on my S3 and dont have an issue. I dont think this will be any different.

RE: Let the spin
By Mitch101 on 4/29/2013 4:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Let the spin
By Tony Swash on 4/26/2013 1:35:09 PM , Rating: 2
Because that is really what we call care about when we go to but a phone, is how much profit the manufacturer makes.

Ho hum here we go again :)

This is technology site and this article is about market share a metric of economic performance by technology companies working in a particular technology sector. It is not a site nor an article about shopping and best buy recommendations although if anyone wants to discuss such stuff that's OK by me, I just won't bother to read it. If one considers comparative market share important enough to discuss then one is de facto discussing economic performance in which case the fact it's possible for a company to sell fewer phones but make much more money than other companies is worthy of consideration.

RE: Let the spin
By retrospooty on 4/26/2013 1:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
There we go, disclaimer met... But you havent added anything about how Apple is the best, so just get to it and move on :P

RE: Let the spin
By InternetGeek on 4/28/2013 7:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
Market share, in the context of financial performance, has always been discussed in terms of the business viability as in revenue not profitability. Difference is important if you are looking to refine your portfolio to reduce risk from economic conditions or taxes.

If the article was discussing economic performance, then by all means, let's bring out their latest balance sheets and analyze them Anandtech style.

RE: Let the spin
By maugrimtr on 4/29/2013 11:41:35 AM , Rating: 3
Isn't the continued success of a technology company worthy of being discussing on a technology blog?

If we did bring up profit, anyone with an investment portfolio would mention "diversification". Sinking all of your cash into the stock of a firm with a handful of extremely profitable but competitively challenged products is called "stupid". Shorting said stock while over €650 as part of a diversified portfolio is called "clever". Apple is not better than Samsung - they are barely comparable in the sense that one is a relatively low risk stock and the other has already seen one share price collapse.

Profitability in the short term is not everything...

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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