Smartphones Lead Cellular Market Growth With 44.4% Increase

Economy | 23 May, 2012 |

Mesa-based Forward Concepts’ annual market study of the worldwide market for cellular terminals and their chips, “Cellular Handset & Tablet Chip Markets ‘12,” compares Q1/2012 vs. Q1/2011 vendor unit shipments for all cellphones, smartphones and tablets. It also gauges their 2011 revenue and unit shipment performance over the prior year.

Although cellphone and cellular-enabled tablet vendors and their respective market performances are covered in detail, we believe our coverage of chips that enable them is without equal.

Importantly, the study estimates 2011 market shares of chip vendors and forecasts virtually every chip type in units, average selling price and revenue through 2016. Market metrics are the central focus of the study, and some key top-level findings include:

  • Worldwide sales of mobile phones (budget, midrange, feature and smartphones) to end users reached 379 million units in the first quarter of 2012, a 9% decline from the first quarter of 2011.
  • Sales of smartphones continued to drive mobile device market growth, reaching 139 million units in the first quarter of 2012, reaching 37% of the global cellphone market.
  • Smartphone vendors, Apple and Samsung, raised their combined share to 45.7%, up from 30% in the first quarter of 2011, and widening their lead over Nokia – which saw its smartphone market share drop to 8.6 percent.
  • In the first quarter of 2012, Apple iPADs achieved a 59.3% share of the media tablet market (which includes the sub-$199 Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook).
  • Apple’s multimode LTE “iPAD3” has positioned the company to offer the iPAD2 at lower prices, causing a decline in Android tablet shipments.
  • Ereader manufacturers shipped just 1.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012, down from 4.2 million units shipped in the final quarter of 2011.

According to the principal author, Carter L. Horney, “Global sales of mobile devices declined in Q1 more than expected due to a slowdown in demand from the emerging regions. All vendors were impacted at different levels; however, Chinese white-box vendors suffered the most with bloated inventories.”

Will Strauss, Forward Concepts’ president and editor of the report, said, “We are confident that this study provides the most comprehensive coverage of cellular handset and tablet chip markets available.”

For more information on this market study on cellphones, smartphones and tablets, visit Forward Concepts’ website at

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