Emerging markets snap up smartphones

IDC says in its latest Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report that the worldwide mobile phone market grew nearly 20% in the past quarter, with sales fuelled to a large extent by emerging markets, smartphone sales and growth by smaller handset makers.

The market say 19.8% growth in the first quarter of this year, says IDC. Vendors shipped 371.8 million units during the quarter.

Smartphone growth worldwide, particularly in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America, helped lift the overall market to a new first-quarter high.

Increasingly, mobile phone makers and carriers are making smartphones affordable to a wider variety of people, which has helped drive the market to new heights. Smartphone-specific vendors, such as HTC, continue to grow sales at a steady clip as a result of this trend.

IDC research analyst Kevin Restivo said companies outside the top five vendors, including Micromax, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei and Research In Motion, had seen good growth. The top five remain Nokia, Samsung, LG, Apple and ZTE.

IDC expects almost all of the worldwide mobile phone market's growth to be driven by smartphones throughout the forecast, which goes to 2015. Increasingly smartphones will drive market growth. This means feature phone makers will either need to become smartphone dependent or consolidate that part of the market, noted Restivo.

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