International Data Corporation (IDC) reported in their Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker study that mobile phone sales increased to 418.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 402.4 million the same quarter last year. Smartphones sold 216.2 million units during the first quarter, making up 51.6 percent of the market and surpassing the sales of feature phones for the first time in history.
“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,” said 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.”
“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,” noted 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. 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.”
Nokia sold 70 million smartphones, but that represented a drop off of more than a quarter compared to last year. Apple sold 37 million smartphones during the first quarter, and while it’s a record, it was not double-digit growth for the first time since 2009.