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Smartphone growth eclipses mobile phones

 
IT News |  16/02/2012
Smartphone growth eclipses mobile phonesHigh levels of business and consumer demand for mobile devices is being reflected in strong smartphone sales volumes, it has been suggested.

Research conducted by Gartner indicates that 149 million devices were shipped in the final quarter of 2011, up by 47.3 per cent on Q4 2010.

This strong performance between October and December helped smartphone sales reach a staggering 472 million for the year.

And the devices accounted for 58 per cent of the mobile device market, up from just 31 per cent a year earlier, as fewer people invested in a new mobile phone.

Gartner explained that record sales of Apple iPhones helped support the sector during Q4, with the manufacturer becoming the third biggest mobile vendor in the world after Nokia and Samsung.

"Apple had an exceptional fourth quarter, selling 35.5 million smartphones to end users, a 121.4 per cent increase year on year," the IT analyst added.

However, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion again recorded disappointing results as they struggled to improve volumes and profits.

Gartner said these providers were exposed to "a much stronger threat" from the midrange and low end of the smartphone market, as ZTE and Huawei continued to gain share during the quarter.

In terms of the wider mobile device market, global sales totalled 476.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This was up by 5.4 per cent on the equivalent period in 2010, although it was smartphones rather than mobile phones driving growth in the quarter just gone.

In 2011 as a whole, end users bought 1.8 billion units, an 11.1 per cent increase from 2010.

Gartner now expects the overall market to grow by around seven per cent in 2012, as professional demand for mobile working solutions holds up.

However, due to the wider proliferation of smartphones, growth in this segment of the market is forecast to slow to 39 per cent.

Meanwhile, in a separate study of 25 European nations, GfK discovered smartphone growth of 67 per cent in 2011 compared to the previous year.

This compared to a sales rise of just 3.2 per cent in the mobile phone market in the same countries.

Posted by John Lynes

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