Huawei outpaces rivals in smartphone growth: IDC

Tracker report shows China-based firm’s shipments surge 89.5%

Tags: Apple IncorporatedHuawei Technologies CompanySamsung Electronics CompanySony CorporationZTE Corporation
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Huawei outpaces rivals in smartphone growth: IDC Huawei took third place in the market after a 40% jump in market share.
By  Stephen McBride Published  January 30, 2013

China-based Huawei’s smartphone business saw a year-on-year surge in shipments of 89.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012, outpacing even market-leading Samsung’s 76% growth, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

While the global market for mobile phones grew by a modest 1.9%, year on year, in Q4, the more startling revelations in IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report lie in the smartphone sector.

Apple, which led the pack in the same quarter in 2011, was relegated to runner up as its South Korean rival, Samsung increased shipments by 76% from 36.2m to 63.7m, to grab the sector crown with 29% of the market, as compared with 22.5% in Q4 2011. While the iPhone maker still managed 29.2% growth (from 37m units to 47.8m units) in a market that showed overall expansion of 36.4% year on year, this was the weakest growth among the top five smartphone vendors and the company’s share shrunk from 23% to 21.8%.

Huawei slipped into the number-three position ahead of Sony and while the Chinese manufacturer only enjoyed a market share of 4.9%, this share had grown from 3.5% the previous year, representing a 40% increase compared with Samsung’s 29% increase. Huawei increased shipments from 5.7m to 10.9m, representing a rise of 89.5%, compared with Samsung’s 76% unit-volume increase.

ZTE found itself in fifth position with 4.3 % of the market, just below Sony with 4.5%.

"The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a top-five smartphone vendor."

"The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the top five smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.

"Both companies have grown volumes by focusing on the mass market, but in recent quarters they have turned their attention toward higher-end devices. In addition, both companies have pushed the envelope in terms of industrial design with larger displays and smaller form factors, as well as innovative applications and experiences."

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