Smartphones drive Q1 shipments


BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple were the big winners in the latest cell phone brand report by US market research company iSuppli.

iSuppli’s report on the Top 10 cell phone brands in the first quarter found that RIM had shipped 10,469 units over the three months, compared to 7,780 in the first quarter of 2009 and 10,105 during quarter four 2009. This equates to 34.6 per cent and 3.6 per cent growth respectively.

Apple also recorded growth both sequentially and year-on-year. Against the fourth quarter of 2009, unit shipments were up 0.2 per cent from 8,737 to 8,752. However, against quarter one 2009, when unit shipments totalled 3,793, the growth was 130.7 per cent.

Overall, Nokia was top of the pile in terms of units shipped during quarter one according to iSuppli, with 107,800 units shipped during the first three months. This was up 15.7 per cent year-on-year and down 15.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Samsung was second with 64,300 units shipped, 22.3 per cent of the total shipped in the first quarter, with LG Electronics and Sony Ericsson third and fourth with 27,100 and 10,500 units shipped.

RIM and Apple came in fifth and sixth, with China’s ZTE seventh with 8,606 units shipped, Motorola eighth with 8,500 units, Huawei ninth with 6,080 units and TCL-Alcatel taking tenth spot with 5,217 units.

iSuppli senior analyst for wireless communications Tina Teng said the results of the market research indicate the true power of smartphones to reshape the mobile handset world. “Smartphones represent the hottest segment of the cell phone market, with unit shipment growth of 35.5 per cent expected in 2010, compared to 11.3 per cent for the overall mobile handset business,” said Teng. “Because of this, companies that are exclusively focussed on this area, like RIM and Apple, have managed to move up to near the top tier of the global cell phone business. This shows that the smartphone is reshaping the competitive landscape of the wireless business.”

Teng added: “RIM is now within a hair’s breadth of displacing Sony Ericsson for the number three rank in the global cell phone market. It will be interesting to see how much more market share RIM and Apple can gain in 2010.”

Total handset shipments from the 10 companies reached 288,100, down 13.9 per cent sequentially but up 13.8 per cent year-on-year. Seven of the ten firms on the list recorded year-on-year growth, including Apple’s 130.7 per cent climb, Samsung’s 40.4 per cent growth and TCL-Alcatel’s 160.7 per cent increase.

iSuppli said the increase in year-on-year shipments is a ‘very optimistic indicator of market growth this year’.