According to a new report from IDC, the worldwide smartphone market began 2014 with an expected retrenchment from holiday quarter shipment volumes, but still posted a year-over-year increase in the first quarter.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that vendors shipped a total of 281.5 million smartphones worldwide, up 28.6% from the 218.8 million units in 1Q13.
The results beat IDC’s forecast of 267.2 million units for the first quarter of 2014 by 5.3%.
In the worldwide mobile phone market (inclusive of smartphones), vendors shipped 448.6 million units, up 3.9% from the 431.8 million units shipped 1Q13 but down -9.0% from the 492.8 million units shipped in 4Q13. This is 0.6% lower than the 451.3 million units IDC had forecast for the quarter. Smartphones accounted for 62.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q14, up from the 50.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q13.
“The first quarter of the year typically brings sequential retrenchment from the holiday spending of the previous quarter,” says Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “The small difference between the two quarters points to sustained strong demand, driven by emerging markets, low-cost devices, and the proliferation of 4G networks. If this is how we start the year, then we can look forward to another record-breaking quarter at the end of the year.”
“The face of the smartphone market is changing rapidly to reflect the rise of its largest market, China, where a record 40% of the smartphones shipped worldwide in 1Q14 were bound to Chinese consumers,” adds Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC. “In a quarter where global shipments declined sequentially, China bucked the trend. The market benefited from its seasonal Lunar New Year uptick, greater emphasis on 4G devices following the December TD-LTE network launch, and the official launch of Apple at China Mobile resulted in volumes a third higher than 4Q13 levels.”