"The worldwide smartphone market grew 79.7% year over year in the first quarter of 2011 (1Q11), driven by a combination of vendors releasing highly anticipated models, widespread availability of older smartphones at lower prices, and sustained end-user demand. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 99.6 million units in 1Q11, nearly double from the 55.4 million units in the first quarter of 2010.
"Conditions in the smartphone market are creating a perfect storm for sustained smartphone growth," says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. "First, vendors are increasingly emphasizing smartphones as the key to their own growth. Second, selection has proliferated from mostly high-end devices to include more mid-range and entry-level offerings. Third, pricing has become increasingly competitive, with even high-end devices available at low price points. Finally, users continue to seek greater utility from their mobile phone beyond voice, and smartphones have been the ideal solution. Altogether, these add up to continued smartphone growth throughout the year."
The strong demand for smartphones also means the market will remain highly competitive and fragmented. "The rise of Android as a prominent mobile operating system has allowed several suppliers to gain share quickly," adds Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Also, the relatively nascent state of smartphone adoption globally means there is ample room for several suppliers to comfortably co-exist, at least for the short term.""