Smaller Manufacturers Also Benefit From Smartphones’ Rise

Samsung and Apple aren’t the only companies that benefit from smartphones’ enduring popularity, according to new data from IDC.

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 6 percent in the second quarter of 2013, the research firm suggested in a new note. LG Electronics, Lenovo, and ZTE—often perceived as also-rans in the smartphone arena—all enjoyed significant growth compared to the year-ago quarter, despite continued market-share domination by Samsung and Apple.

“Market opportunities exist at all levels, including the high end,” Ramon Llamas, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a statement attached to the estimates. “While Samsung and Apple accounted for significant share of the overall market, they were not the only vendors active in the high end of the market, and recent device introductions and upcoming launches signal more vendors targeting this space.”

While people will devote a lot of energy to comparing the Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone franchises, Llamas wrote, “clearly the competition refuses to be shut out altogether.” Lower-priced smartphones are gaining a degree of marketplace traction, a trend that depends on manufacturers continuing to offer next-generation hardware and services at comparatively bargain prices. “We fully expect to see large-screen smartphones and other flagship devices establish a presence within the lower-priced smartphone segment as well,” he added.

When all mobile phones (i.e., feature phones) are thrown into the mix, Nokia becomes a more substantial player—coming in second behind Samsung in second-quarter shipments—but the Finnish phone-maker has also experienced a double-digit decline in its total unit shipments since 2012. Nokia is in the midst of a turnaround that saw it abandon its homegrown mobile operating systems (including Symbian) in favor of Windows Phone; in the midrange-phone category, it faces significant competition from a flood of cheap Google Android devices.

What’s the takeaway from IDC’s data? Even though Samsung and Apple dominate tech-industry headlines, the current popularity of mobile devices has ensured that some smaller players are also seeing significant uptick in shipments.

 

Image: Nikola Spasenoski/Shutterstock.com

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