At this time of the year, when all technology companies are presenting their 2010 financial results for scrutiny by the media and analysts, International Data Corporation (IDC) has issued its look at the state of the mobile phone market with some interesting results.
The standout winner in 2010 it seems has been Chinese manufacturer ZTE who jumped into four position of top mobile phone vendors pushing RIM out of a prestigious top five slot. ZTE is known on this side of the world for its much vaunted San Francisco, known elsewhere as the ZTE Blade, which offers a fully-featured Android smartphone on a budget (£99). However ZTE is a major player in the budget phone market in areas such as Africa and Latin America and only this year began to make an impression in Western Europe, the US and Japan.
ZTE shipped 51.8 million units in 2010 almost doubling its shipments of 26.7 million in 2009, taking 3.7 percent market share and showing a 94 percent change year-on-year. The top five are completed by the big hitters in the mobile market with Nokia continuing to take top position, though its market share has gone from 36.9 percent to 32.6 percent, which was reflected in its own financial results which we reported this week. Samsung came in second position having grown its market share slightly from 19.4 percent to 20.2 percent. Q4 of 2010 was the first time Samsung broke the 80 million unit barrier, and IDC points to the success of the Galaxy S as one of the major reasons behind Samsung's continued success in 2010.
LG placed third in the mobile phone market though it shipped over 3 million less handsets in 2010 compared to the previous year and its percentage of the market share dropped by a quarter, to 7.6 percent. Apple maintains its position in the top five for the second quarter in a row thanks mainly to an 86 percent increase in sales of its iPhone in 2010, as we reported last week.
Overall IDC reports that the mobile phone market grew by 17.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 driven primarily by the demand for smartphones. Vendors shipped 401.4 million units in the three months to 31 December, compared to 340.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009. Vendors shipped a total of 1.39 billion units on a cumulative worldwide basis in 2010, up 18.5 percent from the 1.17 billion units shipped in 2009.
IDC believes the worldwide mobile phone market will continue to be driven largely by smartphone growth until the end of 2014. "Feature phone users looking to do more with their devices will flock to smartphones in the years to come. This trend will help drive smartphone sub-market to grow 43.7% year over year in 2011," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.