Smartphone sales surge despite flat handset market

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Smartphones have truly invaded the world, with sales exploding last year and capturing a huge chunk of the mobile phone market, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). A report by IDC revealed that smartphone sales soared by 44 per cent to 712 million units in 2012, comprising 45.5 per cent of total mobile phone shipments.

However, the rest of the cellular phone market was lacklustre, a sign that consumers were likely trading their older mobile phones for smartphones. Overall, global sales of mobile phones only rose 1.2 per cent to reach 1.7 billion units.

Samsung increased its lead in the smarphone and overall mobile phone market, noted IDC.

Specifically, the South Korean conglomerate secured 29 per cent of the market for smartphones compared with Apple’s 21.8 per cent. Samsung also secured 23 per cent of the mobile phone market versus Nokia’s 17.9 per cent.

Moreover, China-based Huawei and ZTE rose to rank among the top five smartphone vendors due to their stellar sales growth in emerging economies. In particular, Huawei bagged the third spot with its 4.9 per cent market share while ZTE clinched fifth place with 4.3 per cent, just behind Sony Corporation’s 4.5 per cent.

Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, said Huawei and ZTE’s positions amongst the top five smartphone vendors indicates a vital shift in the global market. He commented that while both firms’ sales soared due to their product’s appeal to the mass-market segment, they have also started to focus on high-end devices in recent quarters. He also mentioned that they have boosted their smartphones’ designs in terms of smaller form factors and bigger screens as well as innovative apps.

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