LG, Nokia and Sony Ericsson are the big losers in a rapidly expanding smartphone market that is now dominated by Apple, HTC and Research in Motion’s Blackberry according to research group IDC. Set to join the top trio is Motorola.
Second-quarter worldwide unit shipments rose 14.5 per cent to 317.5 million compared with the year-ago period, with first-half unit shipments up 18.5 per cent to 620.6 million. In the Asia Pacific market that is dominated by Australia, smartphone growth, will continue to power market growth this year, IDC said.
“Lower smartphone average selling prices, increased consumer interest, and aggressive expansion plans on the part of key suppliers will keep the device type growing above market growth rate,” said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo.
Most of the growth came from handset suppliers outside the traditional top five, with the smaller vendors increasing their second-quarter share to 28.3 per cent from a year-ago 25.3 per cent. Three of the top five vendors — Nokia, LG and Sony Ericsson — lost unit share in the second quarter compared to the year-ago period.
Companies with a “strict focus” on smartphones — including RIM, Apple and HTC — “have clearly benefited from steadily increasing user interest,” said senior research analyst Ramon Llamas. Nonetheless, it’s not just smartphone vendors that have driven the market forward, Llamas said. “It’s also the companies with a presence among entry-level handsets and mid-range devices, which have long been the domain of the worldwide leaders.”
However, “to dismiss the worldwide leaders would be a mistake,” Llamas noted. “Each currently enjoys broad distribution, a deep portfolio and brand recognition. Moreover, each is in the midst of refreshing its respective product portfolio, with greater emphasis on smartphones during the second half of this year.” Still, he continued, “the upward pressure from vendors outside the current top five vendors, particularly Apple and Motorola, will provide tough competition in the quarters to come.”
IDC is also tipping that Samsung will make a big comeback in the market with their Galaxy S smartphone that is set to be launched on the Telstra Next G network in coming weeks.