Worldwide Mobile Phone Market Growth Picks Up: IDC


The worldwide mobile phone market grew 12.8 per cent in Q3, 2011, indicating a pick-up in growth after a sharp deceleration in growth rate in the second quarter ended June 30, over Q2, 2010, according to IT research firm IDC.

The market growth had dropped to single digit level clocking just 9.8 per cent increase in Q2, 2011 over the year ago period due to weak feature phone market, which declined for the first time since Q3, 2009. In contrast, the total mobile market had grown 16.8 per cent in Q1, 2011.

Vendors shipped 393.7 million units in Q3, 2011 compared to 348.9 million units in the third quarter of 2010. Even as this marked a reversal after a sharp slowdown, this was the second-lowest growth rate for the overall mobile phone market over the past two years. Economically mature regions such as the US and Western Europe were hit the hardest since shipment volume to both regions declined on a Y-o-Y basis.


"The combination of economic uncertainty and anticipation over fourth quarter or late third quarter product releases caused some consumers to delay their smartphone purchases," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "Many waited for products such as the iPhone 4S, which was announced after the quarter closed, or Research In Motion's BlackBerry 7 phone series, which were released in the final weeks of the quarter."

Although the smartphone growth declined in the quarter, the research firm believes that smartphones will continue to drive the overall mobile phone market in the years to come.

"Two years ago, smartphones comprised just a small portion of overall shipments among the leading vendors. Today, that proportion has grown considerably. At the same time, the growing presence of companies focused exclusively on the smartphone market (like Apple, HTC, and RIM) also demonstrates the impact that smartphones have had on the mobile phone market as a whole," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team.


In the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan), feature phones recovered in the third quarter on the back of Nokia. Additionally, the region's smartphone growth last quarter was driven primarily by Samsung and HTC, as well as ZTE in China.

In terms of individual vendors, Nokia reversed a global market share on a sequential basis last quarter thanks to stronger feature phone sales in key regions as well as the clearing of inventory backlogs in traditional strongholds, namely China and Europe. Samsung registered double-digit growth compared to the third quarter a year ago and also outpaced the market. The company's growth was again driven by smartphone sales, such as the Galaxy S II.

LG Electronics maintained its position as the number 3 mobile vendor worldwide for the twelfth quarter in a row while ZTE jumped into the number 4 position. Apple gained share and posted the third-highest growth rate of any Top 5 vendor but dropped to the number 5 position globally.


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