Samsung Maintaining its top position in the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung has outperformed its rivals in the first quarter of 2013. Photo: Reuters

Maintaining its top position in the worldwide smartphone market, South Korean tech giant Samsung has outperformed its rivals in the first quarter of 2013. By the end of 1Q13, Samsung shipped 70.7 million units, which was more than the next four vendors combined, according to a new report by the research firm IDC.

In the first quarter of 2013, Samsung gained 32.7 percent of global smartphone market, compared to the 28.8 percent during the same quarter in 2012, said the report.

When it comes to Apple that held the second spot in the smartphone rankings, the company’s smartphone shipment volume hit new first quarter high, thanks in part to the iPhone 5, with volume growing 6.6 percent year-over-year. The company shipped 37.4 million iPhones during the quarter that accounted for 17.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market share.

The third spot was held by LG that made a comeback to the smartphone Top 5 after a two-quarter absence, reaching record-high shipments in the process. According to IDC, LG’s smartphone volume for the quarter was driven in large part by its 3G smartphone portfolio, namely the L series and the Nexus 4. In addition, the LTE-enabled devices, including the Optimus G series, also contributed to its success.

Huawei also showed improvement from where it was a year ago, when it offered a handful of Ascend smartphones and had more limited presence outside the Asia Pacific region. The company nearly doubled its unit shipments to regions outside of Asia Pacific in 1Q13 in comparison to 1Q12.

ZTE came fifth in the list with a strong showing in the Asia Pacific and North America, but a small presence in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America despite its previous success with the low-end feature phones there.

Take a look at the top five smartphone vendors with their total number of shipments and market share in 1Q13:


In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2 million units in 1Q13, which marked the first time more than half (51.6 percent) the total phone shipments in a quarter. The market grew 41.6 percent compared to the 152.7 million units shipped in 1Q12, but 5.1 percent lower than the 227.8 million units shipped in 4Q12.

"Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away," Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said. "As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones."

The IDC report also revealed that the worldwide mobile phone market grew 4 percent year-over-year in the seasonally slow first quarter of 2013 as smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time.

According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in 1Q13 compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.


"In addition to smartphones displacing feature phones, the other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors," Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team said.

"A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry (then Research In Motion), and HTC among the top five. While those companies have been in various stages of transformation since, Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones,” Llamas added.