Smartphone boom lifted phone market in first quarter

By @ibtimes on

Strong demand for smartphones continued to boost overall cellphone market volumes in January-March, research firms said on Friday.

IDC saw January-March market growth of 20 percent, boosted also by strong gains by smaller vendors as the three largest phone makers -- Nokia, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics -- lost market share.

Strategy Analytics estimated handset shipments grew 17 percent from a year ago, driven by surging smartphone demand in mature regions and increasingly popular models with multiple SIM cards in emerging markets.

The first quarter of 2011 was marked by supply-chain disruptions related to the Japan earthquake tragedy and by ongoing mild component constraints in areas such as touchscreens, memory and cameras, said Neil Mawston, analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Mawston said component shortages would continue for at least the next 6 to 9 months, causing restricted volumes or rising input prices, but operational challenges from this would remain minor for most manufacturers.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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