Smartphone Market Grows 42.1% in 2Q 2012

According to market research firm IDC the smartphone market has seen 42.1% growth in the second quarter of 2012. Samsung leads the pack with 50.2 million devices sold, followed by Apple with 26 million handsets then Nokia, HTC and ZTE.

"Samsung and Apple have quickly become the global smartphone heavyweights though both employ somewhat different approaches to the market," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC. "Samsung employs a ‘shotgun’ strategy wherein many models are created that cover a wide range of market segments. Apple, in contrast, offers a small number of high-profile models. While both companies have expanded their geographic presence in pursuit of market share, the two companies will inevitably come into greater conflict as both try to generate additional gains."

Top five vendor trends

Samsung extended its lead over Apple during the second quarter, taking advantage of Apple’s release schedule and launching its flagship Galaxy S III. In addition, Samsung experienced continued success of its smartphone/tablet hybrid device, the Galaxy Note.

Apple posted an expected sequential decline last quarter, similar to years past. The company’s once-a-year release cycle usually results in two quarters of lower volumes leading up to the next-generation model introduction. Nonetheless, IDC noticed that Apple made significant inroads into new markets and segments, including smaller regional carriers and prepaid service providers.

Nokia smartphone business underwent another quarter of transition. Demand for Symbian and MeeGo units declined, though the company almost doubled its Windows Phone shipments from the previous quarter. “Nokia, however, has a long path to travel before it can reclaim previous volume levels and challenge Apple and Samsung for smartphone supremacy,“ said IDC.

HTC rebounded from its struggles in the two previous quarters to reclaim the number 4 spot in the smartphone vendor rankings. Its relatively strong performance in the Asia/Pacific region allowed it to climb back up the rank order as did the correction of its channel inventory issues.

“The company’s streamlined portfolio means future share gains will be predicated upon the success of its One products,“ forecast IDC.

ZTE climbed into the smartphone Top 5 for the first time thanks primarily to shipments of its lower-cost entry-level smartphones in China, where it’s based. However, the vendor has also grown its international smartphone sales, in the U.S. (with white labelled products) and Latin America. Moving forward the lack of brand recognition might however be an issue for the vendor, explained IDC.

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