While smartphone have really taken off since Apple launched the iPhone back in 2007, believe it or not, traditional feature phones have remained the biggest sellers worldwide. That was until the first quarter of 2013, when smartphones out-shipped feature phones for the first time ever.
Of the 418.6 million cellphones sold during the first three months of the year, 51.6% of them were smartphones, according to new figures from IDC.
“Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
“As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones.”
In total, 216.2 million smartphones were sold during the first quarter. 70.7 million of those were manufactured by Samsung, while 37.4 million were manufactured by Apple. LG remains a distant third with 10.3 million, followed by Huawei with 9.9 million, and ZTE with 9.1 million.
When you include feature phone sales as well, Samsung remains the biggest seller with 115 million shipments, while Nokia takes second place with 61.9 million shipments. Apple holds third place with 37.6 million, LG sits in fourth with 15.4 million, and ZTE takes fifth with 13.5 million.
Samsung improved its lead over Apple when it comes to smartphone shipments, jumping from a 29% share during Q4 2012 to a 32.7% share in Q1 2013. Apple’s share slipped from 21.8% to 17.3%, while Sony dropped out of the top five altogether, making way for ZTE.
This year’s figures show that Chinese manufacturers, including Huawei and ZTE, are slowly gaining traction in the smartphone market thanks to their affordable devices aimed at emerging markets.