The researchers at IDC are reporting that for the first time ever, more smartphones were sold globally in the first three months of 2013 than so-called “dumb” phones, the basic-feature models that come with most calling plans.
It’s a development that’s roiling the smartphone space as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) saw the market share of its iconic iPhone slide below 20% as sales grew only 6.6%, the first time since the third quarter of 2009 its growth rate has been in the single digits. In fact Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the only smartphone maker among the top five that saw its market share slip, putting it even further behind industry leader Samsung, which saw its share of the market widen to 32.7%, a gain of almost 4 percentage points from the year-ago period.
Vendors shipped some 418.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter, a 4% increase from the 402.4 million units shipped in the same period last year, but down 13% from 483.2 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012.
In looking at mobile phones generally, at both smart and “dumb” phones, Samsung remains the industry leader, but Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is second, with a 14.8% share reflecting the 62 million phones it shipped in the first quarter. It’s followed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) — which inched up in terms of share, to 8.9% — LG, and ZTE.
More than anything it shows the decline felt by Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), which was once the world’s top mobile phone manufacturer, and the rise of Chinese phone makers like Huawei and ZTE. Likely gone for good is Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) despite the reintroduction of its BlackBerry Z10 and the fervent hope of its adherents that it marks a recovery in both status and share. Analysts believe the new smartphone is already running into headwinds.