A first: smartphone shipments outnumber feature phones

By , Apr 26, 2013

iPhone 5 Galaxy S4 (Tagscape 001)

For some time, the mobile phone industry has been shifting toward more powerful smartphones and away from basic mobile phones. Now comes word that smartphones outnumber feature phones for the first time. The line was crossed in the first quarter of 2013 with 216.1 million smartphones shipping, accounting for 51.6 percent of all handsets sold. Smartphone shipments grew 41.6 percent during the quarter, up from 152.7 million units shipped during the same period in 2012, one industry research firm announced Thursday…

IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said that “the days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away.”

And as a result of the shifting consumer demand, “the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are more dependent on smartphones,” Restivo adds. Indeed, we recently wrote how app usage is equal to the number of online laptop and desktops.

IDC (Q1 2013, top smartphone vendors)

As if to make the point, Samsung held on to the top spot among smartphone makers, its Galaxy handset helping the South Korean firm ship more units than the next four companies combined, according to IDC.

The firm had 27.6 percent of the mobile phone market, up from 23.3 percent during the first three months of 2012. The 22.9 percent year-over-year gain was fueled by 115 million units shipped during the first quarter, an increase from 93.6 million handsets shipped during the first quarter of 2012.

Here’s Samsung Galaxy S4 television commercial from earlier this morning.

Apple retains its No. 2 spot for global mobile phone makers, the iPhone 5 helping the company register its first single-digit year-over-year growth since the third quarter of 2009, the researcher said.

Apple has held onto the second place position for the previous five quarters. According to IDC, Apple’s smartphone mix is “increasingly diversified as it tries to reach new buyers.”

However, the last time the iPhone maker posted a single-digit year-over-year growth rate was 3Q09. The iPhone maker has held the second spot in the smartphone rankings for the past five quarters

To emphasize the changing guard, Nokia – once a mobile phone titan – continues to shed market share. The company fell to second place in overall mobile phone shipments, dropping to second behind Samsung.

At the end of the first quarter, the Finnish firm had 14.8 percent of the mobile handset market, down from 20.6 percent a year ago. Shipments also fell to 61.9 million, down from 82.7 million during the first quarter of 2012, IDC announced.

idc_smartphone_market

LG, which had fallen off the list of the top 5 smartphone makers, has returned in fourth place. The 12.4 percent increase of last year is credited to LG’s L series and Nexus 4.

The momentum has shifted to a number of China-based firms, which has used Google’s Android software to attract smartphone buyers.

Among China’s new players: Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad and Lenova, Restivo claimed.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021178743 Marnix Robyns

    i alread have been using the galaxy s4 for 3 days to learn work with it (not as simple user interface as apple tho, but still verry nice, packed with lots of awesome features)

    • Gorgonphone

      S4 is the best android phone… but still not as nice as iphone..lol

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      Just wait until you see how many bugs Android has…and the lack of consistency between apps.

      • Gorgonphone

        exactly..

      • lmao

        This would be true 3 years ago, but today Android has surpassed iOS in both polish, usability, and stability.

        From a respectable reviewer:
        /watch?v=YwwJ8kgmcdc

        I think it’s time for you to take your head out of the ground, and go to your local shop and actually try an HTC One, or SG4 demo.

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        I don’t need a review.. my own experience talk by itself. Android just suck. java suck. fragmentation suck. malware suck. lot of bugs suck. lack of quality suck. vectorial ui that behaves like a html page suck… this system not only is a crap but also heavy. to get iOS performance they need at least a quad-core…it’s a shame. seriously, im not a hater, I just cant like a system that gives me this experience everyday. I own a Android device as my second phone.

        even google developers, use the iPhone as a primary phone…and it’s crazy that even Google apps are much better on iOS than on Android. I think this says it all…

        The reason why Android deliveres more quantity and “openness” it’s because they can’t deliver quality…even SMS apps behave like crazy…a simple SMS app…

      • lmao

        You are misguided in most of your statements, but I respect your view.

        Android has an architectural design that differs greatly from iOS, with a majority done in Java with a beefed-up jvm. While this can seem slow, it is no different than C# on Windows, and the resulting code is quite optimized. This aside however, Android development is much easier now, as they allow native code, so you can write, or port your C++ game or app with little issue (vs. rewriting in java). I have done many projects in both iOS, and Android and don’t find much to complain either way (except for the necessity of a Mac for App store publishing for iOS – but I am a mac user, so this is not an issue).

        I enjoy my iPhone, however I also love Android, not because it is more powerful, but because the devices are more capable and enjoyable to use. I am sure Apple will catch up, and i will be sure to pick up an iPhone 6, but until that time comes….

      • DeBugger

        You are a bright man, and spot on.

      • AMB_07

        Ok buddy, time to stop using Froyo

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Actually it’s Android v4.1 .. but you can’t say that to people who are using Froyo because it’s not their fault when they can’t get official updates on their devices…

    • Curtis

      A bunch of features you will never use lol..if any Android i would say the HTC One. But neither are the iPhone 5.

  • Gorgonphone

    ummm okay great

  • http://twitter.com/cunotherside1 cunotherside

    This twitter thing messed all my comment up.

  • felixtaf

    Bcoz none of the manufacturer is focussing on feature phones… For evry feature phone release, 50 smartphones are released… Also, smartphones are getting cheaper and cheaper… So average consumer will go for a smartphone than a feature phone… Still love my first phone though… Nokia 1100…

  • Tom

    At least u can downclock on android to save battery

  • tim robbins

    i love how the article features a pic of S3 and iPhone 5 together, and in the context of the article headline the tiny i5 looks like it’s the dumbphone and S3 is portrayed as the smartphone.

    haha! :D

  • wonderboydave

    no matter what phone you are using.. a good chance that it’s a smart phone.

  • http://twitter.com/wmacuser William Melendez

    I was about to trade my white iphone 5 for a htc one , but he wanted 50 bucks on top . Not that curious for it . If you were in my shoes would you done it ?