The year 2014 seems to be all about smartphones. According to a report by IDC for Q1 2013, smartphones have outshipped feature phones for the first time ever. The number of smartphones shipped in Q1 2013 is more than half of the total mobile phones (smartphones and feature phones) shipped in the quarter. The usual notion about using phones to only make/receive calls or send messages is fading away and people have started expecting more.

Porting worries! (Image credit: Getty Images)

Smartphones surpass feature phone shipments (Image credit: Getty Images)

In the first quarter of 2013, vendors shipped 418.6 million mobile phones compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012. Talking precisely about the worldwide smartphone market, vendors reportedly shipped 216.2 million units in Q1 2013, which means 51.6 percent (more than half) of the total phone shipments in the quarter were smartphones.

“In addition to smartphones displacing feature phones, the other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors,” noted Ramon Llamas, Research – Manager mobile phone team, IDC's. “A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry (then Research In Motion), and HTC among the top five. While those companies have been in various stages of transformation since, Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones.”

Samsung has maintained the position it held at the end of 2012 while Apple's smartphone shipment volume has hit a new high in the first quarter owing to the iPhone 5. After a two-quarter absence, LG has returned among the top five smartphone vendors. Vendors like ZTE and Huawei continue to improve.

Driven by the burgeoning smartphone market, India has also shown a significant rise in the mobile segment. A report by IDC’s Asia Pacific quarterly mobile phone tracker for calendar year (CY) 2012 reveals that the overall mobile phone market in India has reached approximately 218 million units. There has been a 16 percent year- over-year growth compared to CY 2011. The smartphone market in India grew from around 11 million units in CY 2011 to 16.3 million units in CY 2012. The fourth quarter of 2012 showed record high smartphone shipments. On the other hand, there was 5 percent decline in the feature phone segment during the same period.
In India, apart from giants like Samsung and Sony, local vendors like Micromax and Karbonn have also been helpful at ramping up shipments by aggressively launching newer models.

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