Huawei has become a top three smartphone maker for the first time, with the Chinese manufacturer almost doubling its market share.
New figures from IDC for the phone market in 2012 are similar to Strategy Analytics' research from this morning, which said the phone market only grew by 2% last year. IDC said smartphone shipments hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of last year, accounting for 45.5% of the total market or 219.4m shipments.
Huawei's growth, which saw it overtake HTC in the smartphone stakes, was seen as the most notable development. Two Chinese manufacturers, it and ZTE, are now in the top five, in a sign of the country's increasing importance to the smartphone market. IDC said Huawei made this breakthrough by courting the mass market and high-end, with its Ascend line of devices. It also noted Huawei's handset innovation, with it revealing the 6.1 inch Ascend Mate at this month's CES. Huawei shipped 10.8m handsets during the quarter, up 89.5% on 2011.
Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC, said: 'The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers. Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor.'
Elsewhere, Samsung stretched its lead over Apple and now accounts for 29.0% of the smartphone market, with Apple on 21.8%. Samsung shipped 63.7m units during the quarter, an all-time high and up 76.0% on 2011.
Author: Graeme Neill