Smartphone shipments have surpassed feature phones for the first time in Western Europe, new figures have revealed.
According to the latest statistics from analyst firm IDC, smartphone shipments increased 48% to 21.8 million units in Q2 2011 while feature phone shipments dropped 29% to 20.4 million units.
IDC claims that the increasing adoption of Android-based smartphones, combined with the fact that mobile operators have stopped subsidising feature phones in Europe, was the driving force behind the decline in feature phone sales.
Shipments of Android handsets were up 352% year on year to 10.5 million units while Google’s OS continued to lead with 48.5% of the total smartphone shipments. Samsung was the most popular choice of Android manufacturer.
IDC European mobile devices research manager Francisco Jeronimo said: ‘This quarter was particularly important from the device type perspective. Smartphones now dominate the Western European phone market and those vendors with stronger portfolios in the segment are consolidating their positions, compared with those manufacturers with less attractive smart devices.
‘Android-powered handsets from the likes of Samsung, HTC, and Sony Ericsson have been able to drive strong volumes and to grab the biggest slice of share from the declining Symbian as Nokia moves to Windows Phones.’
Meanwhile, despite smartphones now accounting 52% of total mobile phone shipments, there was an overall 3% year on year decline in the total Western European mobile phone market to 42.2 million units in the Q2 of 2011.
Jeronimo said: ‘First, the economic environment in the Eurozone is deteriorating, with a direct impact on consumer demand. Secondly, the smartphone segment was strongly impacted by the sharp decline of Nokia, which was not totally offset by the remaining players, which may indicate that Symbian fans are holding off on their phone replacements until Nokia launches its Windows Phones.
‘Lastly, operators focused on clearing inventories for the introduction of the new devices expected in the third quarter, such as the iPhone 5 from Apple and Windows Phones from HTC and other players.’