Milton Keynes UK - Global cellular handset shipments rose 17 percent in the first quarter to 350 million units despite "mild" component shortages that will continue for at least the next six to nine months, Strategy Analytics said.
This year will be the first in which handset shipments exceed 300 million in every quarter, the market research company forecast.
Global handset sales were driven by smartphones in mature regions and by multi-SIM models in emerging markets, the company said. Despite the global rise, one major supplier - LG -- posted a shipment decline to 24.5 million units from a year-ago 27.1 million. All other suppliers among the top five in first-quarter unit volume posted unit sales gains.
Strategy Analytics also found that only two vendors among the top five posted share gains. They were Apple and ZTE. Apple captured fourth place, rising from sixth place a year earlier. Nokia and Samsung - the number one and two suppliers, respectively, posted declining shares despite their rising volumes. (See table.)
During the quarter, suppliers battled supply-chain disruptions related to the Japan earthquake and ongoing "mild component constraints" in touchscreens, memory and cameras, Strategy Analytics said. The supply constraints will continue for at least six to nine months and will cause "restricted volumes or rising input prices for some handset makers," the company said. For now, however, "the operational challenges posed by these parts constraints remain minor rather than major for most players," Strategy Analytics said.