3 Key Trends in Mobile Phone Market

The worldwide phone market grew again in the second quarter, but the dividing line between what's universally considered practical (low-end feature phones) and what's hot (higher-end smartphones) is becoming more obvious.

IDC recently reported the worldwide mobile phone market grew 11.3 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2011. Sure, that's down from IDC's anticipated 13.3 percent quarterly target and the 16.8 percent growth recorded in the first quarter, but 11.3 percent doesn't seem too shabby during a time when the US and euro-area economies are floundering through a politically charged debt crisis, high unemployment, and other malaise.

Mobile makers still managed to ship 365.4 million units in the second quarter, 37 million more than the comparable year-ago period. The trend that really caught my eye, though, was this one: The second quarter booked a weaker feature phone market, which declined for the first time since the third quarter of 2009, noted IDC. The firm doesn't expect things to get much better in the low-end, low-cost feature phone segment either; feature phone shipment growth likely won't exceed 1.1 percent in any year forecasted by IDC, according to the report.

Then, there was this report in The Wall Street Journal, which reinforced what we all generally suspected: Citing data from market research firm Strategy Analytics, The Journal noted Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Nokia Corp., the longtime leader, in the global smartphone market during the second quarter. According to the article, Apple's share of the smartphone market rose to 18.5 percent in the second quarter from 13.5 percent a year earlier. Samsung's smartphone market share jumped to 17.5 percent from 5 percent. And, Nokia... well, the once-mighty leader saw its global market share tumble to 15.2 percent from 38.1 percent a year earlier.

While it's still anyone's guess how this will all shake out and whether the phone makers lower in the rankings could do anything to break into what's shaping up to be a fierce two-horse race, there are a few trends to keep a watchful eye on.


Post a Comment