High growth by smartphone makers such as Taiwan’s HTC Corp (宏達電) and Apple Inc resulted in a record first quarter as the worldwide mobile phone market grew 19.8 percent year-on-year, a market tracker said in a recent report.
International Data Corp (IDC) said that global mobile-phone shipments rose to 371.8 million units in the first three months of this year from 310.5 million units in the same period of last year.
The figures represented a new first-quarter high fueled by strong sales of smartphones in Western Europe and the US, IDC said.
In Western Europe, Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google Inc’s Android platform helped grow the market in a traditionally slow quarter, while new devices from HTC, Samsung -Electronics and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB sold well in most countries in the high-end tiers, IDC said.
In the US, the iPhone and the LTE-enabled HTC Thunderbolt were two of the smartphones introduced by mobile provider Verizon Wireless, which helped make the subcategory a key focus in the mobile phone market, IDC said.
Feature phones, including once popular quick messaging devices, continued to lose ground, the firm said.
“Increasingly, smartphones will drive market growth. This means feature phone makers will either need to become smartphone dependent or consolidate that part of the market,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.
Among the world’s top five mobile phone vendors, Nokia Corp topped the list with shipments of 108.5 million units, but its market share dropped from 34.7 percent in the first quarter of last year to 29.2 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Samsung was in second place with 70 million units and an 18.8 percent share, followed by LG Electronics (6.6 percent), Apple (5 percent) and ZTE Corp (4.1 percent).
Apple and ZTE were the only two among the top five vendors that recorded year-on-year shipment growth in the first quarter.
Apple shipped 18.7 million units — a record-high quarterly number — up 114.9 percent year-on-year from 8.7 million units sold last year.
Driven by strong sales in China and Latin America, shipments of ZTE phones rose to 15.1 million units from 10.4 million units sold in the first quarter of last year.
Meanwhile, HTC said that it shipped 9.7 million units of smartphones in January to March, an increase of 192 percent year-on-year. The Taoyuan-based smartphone maker has forecast that its -second-quarter shipments will hit 11 million to 11.5 million units, rising 110 percent to 113 percent from a year earlier.