Smartphone sales top half a billion in 2012 | Mobile Industry | Mobile Entertainment

Smartphone sales top half a billion in 2012

Smartphone sales top half a billion in 2012
Daniel Gumble

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Industry / Market Data / January 25th 2013 at 11:15AM

International mobile market grows 1.9 per cent year-on-year in Q4.

More than half a billion smartphones were sold across the world last year, expanding the international mobile market by 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Figures from IDC show that vendors shipped 219.4 million units in Q4, representing a record high of 45.5 per cent of all mobile phone shipments. However, the 36.4 per cent year-on-year growth fell slightly short of IDC's forecast of 39.5 per cent for the quarter.

Overall, 545.2 million smartphones were shipped globally in 2012 - 10.1 per cent more than in 2011.

"The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor."

"The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the Top 5 smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market," added Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both companies have grown volumes by focusing on the mass market, but in recent quarters they have turned their attention toward higher-end devices. In addition, both companies have pushed the envelope in terms of industrial design with larger displays and smaller form factors, as well as innovative applications and experiences."

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