IDC report says smartphones outsell computers for the first time

09 February, 2011

2010 was defined by a series of explosive growths in the smartphone market. For the first time ever, smartphones have outsold traditional computers, says IDC. Leading manufacturers posted staggering quarterly and yearly growths with more to come in 2011.

IDC estimates that a record-breaking 92.1 million computers were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2010. Smartphones managed 100.9 million shipments over the same period - an 87.2% increase compared to Q4 of 2009.

Traditional computers still have the lead for the whole year shipments (346.2 million), but smartphones are catching up - 302.6 were shipped around the world, up 74.4% compared to 2009.

Android made impressive leaps and many manufacturers have rallied around it. The relatively young OS has become the core of the smartphone and tablet strategy for several companies.

Two new competitors have entered the smartphone playing field this year, Symbian^3 and Windows Phone 7. Symbian^3 was on board 5 million devices shipped in the holiday quarter, while Windows Phone 7 managed 1.5 million units.

Breaking it down by manufacturers, Nokia still holds the top spot but its smartphone market share is slipping. Their market share for 2010 fell to 33.1% (down from 39.0% for 2009). With MeeGo devices nowhere to be seen yet and North America still resisting Nokia's charm, the Finnish company is not doing too well.

Apple score a respectable third place in global smartphone shipments. it's an impressive achievement, they only offer two models at a time (with pretty steep prices too). The Asian-Pacific and Japanese markets were lucrative and the iPhone has been gaining popularity with corporate folk too.

RIM may have been overtaken by Apple in Q4, but they still hold the second place worldwide. They are also leaders in North America, but a lot of their growth came from other markets. The BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry Curve 3G were among consumer favorites.

Samsung executive have reasons to celebrate - their smartphones posted the biggest growth both yearly and quarterly, a staggering 438.9% year-over-year. The Galaxy S line was largely responsible for the success and there are new Galaxy phones incoming. Bada OS and their Windows Phone 7 were well received too. Samsung is ambitious and is aiming for a 40% market share in 2011.

Finally, HTC holds fifth place but they showed triple-digit growth too. Their growth was second only to Samsung, HTC's brand awareness has increased and their devices were well received, which boosted sales. Their 2011 resolution is to become the preferred smartphone brand and to have a strong presence in the Asian-Pacific market.

Dual-core processors and NFC is what analysts expect to lure in new customers in 2011. They also predict a continued growth of the smartphone market with expanding the offering of low- and mid-range smartphones and falling prices for the high-end.

This is an analysis of the smartphone market, but we also have an interesting write-up of the general mobile phone market as a whole. Just don't forget about ZTE.

Source 1, Source 2


Reader comments

  • edulee
  • 29 Apr 2011
  • Fe}

I would like to point out that things are invented to bring about change or to assist to a particular end. If for most people Smartphones is the way to go someone will invent ways in which we can still accomplish some of the things we use computers f...

  • Anonymous
  • 25 Mar 2011
  • 258

It is really an awesome blog posted by you keep up your work in this way

  • Pee
  • 10 Feb 2011
  • PAx

Totally useless statistics. if you ranked the phones by OS, that would do better. or PC vs Laptops...

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