Smartphone sales will hit 420 million units by the end of 2011, yet still make up only 28 percent of the market, according to a study released by IMS Research. At the onset of 2011, Nokia and Apple were the dominant brands, accounting for over 40 percent of smartphones sold in the first quarter of the year, but Samsung is rapidly catching up, experiencing well over 300 percent growth in global smartphone market share over the same quarter last year. Samsung now has 13 percent of the market.
Motorola appears to have stagnated, maintaining a 4 percent share year-over-year, while RIM dropped from 20 to 15 percent smartphone market share. Josh Builta, an analyst from IMS, cites the manufacturers' poor positioning to capitalize on the "market trend" of smartphone ownership as the primary reason the market appears to be held back.
Builta cited LG as a prime example of a brand that has failed to pursue a diverse line of smartphones. But despite LG's allegedly indifferent attitude, its smartphone market share jumped from 1 to 4 percent from the first quarter of 2010 to 2011.
HTC, on the other hand, despite being a brand that focuses exclusively on smartphones, saw less growth, from 6 to 10 percent of the smartphone market. While Nokia still made it into the hands of 24 percent of smartphone buyers in the first quarter of 2011, it appears to be hemorrhaging customers: last year, 40 percent of smartphone sales were Nokia handsets.
Based on growth of the market so far, IMS estimates that smartphones will hit one billion sales by 2016, when they will account for 50 percent of all mobile handsets sold.