Framingham, Mass. - Worldwide factory-level smartphone sales rose 79.7 percent in the first quarter to 99.6 million units, with Samsung and HTC posting the largest percentage gains in the triple digits, IDC found.
Nokia, however, remained on top in worldwide smartphone share even though it lost share, with Apple moving into second place compared to the year-ago quarter to surpass Research In Motion.
The growth was driven by "vendors releasing highly anticipated models, widespread availability of older smartphones at lower prices, and sustained end-user demand," the consulting and research company said.
Senior research analyst Ramon Llamas said conditions are in place for continued smartphone growth. "First, vendors are increasingly emphasizing smartphones as the key to their own growth," he said. "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."
The rise of the Android smartphone platform has enabled several suppliers, including HTC, "to gain share quickly," added senior research analyst Kevin Restivo.
Gains from those companies are occurring at a time when Nokia could further lose smartphone market share as it transitions from the Symbian to Windows Phone smartphone platform, IDC added. Apple reached a new record shipment volume in a single quarter and inched closer to Nokia with fewer than 6 million units separating the two, IDC noted.