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Q1 handset market grows thanks to ever-popular smartphone segment

Jack Loo | April 30, 2013
Nokia and HTC falter, while LG and Samsung perform: ABI Research

An estimated 405 million handsets, including 197 million smartphones, were shipped in the first quarter of 2013, according to ABI Research.

Shipments of all handsets grew 12 percent year-over-year (YoY) in the first quarter thanks to the continued strength of the smartphone market, which achieved an all-time high of 49 percent shipment penetration.

Smartphone shipments grew 38 percent YoY while feature phone shipments declined 5.2 percent YoY.

"Worldwide handset and smartphone shipments exhibited classic Q1 softness," said ABI Research senior analyst Michael Morgan. "Samsung accomplished strong smartphone growth while Apple dismissed a troubling mix of slowed growth and declining margins as a sign that the older iPhone 4S was in high demand."

ABI analysts said Nokia handset shipments plummeted to 62 million in the first quarter with smartphone shipments at a five-year low of 6.1 million. And considering market and OEM specific conditions, BlackBerry delivered a respectable six million shipments, with one million coming from the launch of BlackBerry 10-based devices.

Despite HTC's well-designed ONE devices, shipments continued to decline 37 percent YoY to 4.8 million, while LG continued its revival with 10.3 million smartphone shipments and 16.2 million handset shipments, according to ABI analysts.

"The last time a major smartphone OEM showed a trend of decreasing margins combined with falling ASPs and slowing growth, BlackBerry was still on the favourable side of a large market share and revenue drop," added ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr. "With major product announcements teased for Q3, Apple risks falling behind the innovation curve unless the next iPhone is more revolutionary than evolutionary."


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