May 06, 2011

Study: Samsung, HTC, Apple Responsible for Smartphone Growth

The smartphone market has grown 79.7 percent year over year, with smartphone vendors shipping a total of 99.6 million units globally in the first quarter of 2011, says market intelligence from IDC.

These numbers are due in part by some key players, most notably Samsung (News - Alert) and HTC being the flag bearers in terms of sales growth. The main reason the two reign supreme is because of the ever growing popularity of the OS Android.

While, Samsung’s smartphone sales grew to 10.8 million units, HTC (News - Alert) went up to 8.9 million units, both registering fourfold and three fold growth respectively. Samsung's market share increased from 4.3 percent to 10.8 percent, while HTC has grown from 4.9 percent to 8.9 percent.

“The rise of Android (News - Alert) as a prominent mobile operating system has allowed several suppliers to gain share quickly,” adds Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone (News - Alert) Tracker. “Also, the relatively nascent state of smartphone adoption globally means there is ample room for several suppliers to comfortably co-exist, at least for the short term.”

Apple sold 18.7 million iPhones in the quarter, giving it an 18.7 percent share of the market, which happened to total almost exactly 100 million devices. That put Apple within 6 million units of first place Nokia (News - Alert), which grew only 12.6 percent over the year ago quarter, dropping its leading share of the smartphone market from 38.8 percent to just 24.3 percent.

IDC commented that “as Nokia transitions from Symbian to Windows Phone, it may find itself in danger of ceding market share as the competition ramps up smartphone production.”

Apple also maintained its second place spot, but unlike Nokia, it increased its market share. While also slipping, Research in Motion (RIM) managed to keep its third place and secured a 14 percent share (13.9 million sold units).

In fourth place we have Samsung while HTC takes its seat in fifth. 

“Conditions in the smartphone market are creating a perfect storm for sustained smartphone growth,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. “First, vendors are increasingly emphasizing smartphones as the key to their own growth. Second, selection has proliferated from mostly high-end devices to include more mid-range and entry-level offerings. Third, pricing has become increasingly competitive, with even high-end devices available at low price points. Finally, users continue to seek greater utility from their mobile phone beyond voice, and smartphones have been the ideal solution. Altogether, these add up to continued smartphone growth throughout the year.”

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell