IDC: Worldwide Cell Phone Sales Up 17.9%; Apple #5 Vendor


IDC has announced worldwide cell phone sales data for the fourth quarter of 2010, noting that vendor shipments jumped 17.9% from the previous year to 401.4 million units. Apple was the number five vendor for the quarter and the full year, the same spot it held in 2009.

For the full year, vendors shipped 1.388 billion cell phones, up 18.5% from 2009. Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, said in a press release: “The mobile phone market has the wind behind its sails. Mobile phone users are eager to swap out older devices for ones that handle data as well as voice, which is driving growth and replacement cycles.”

Mr. Restivo added that surging growth of sales of smartphones, such as the iPhone, is part of that: “Feature phone users looking to do more with their devices will flock to smartphones in the years to come. This trend will help drive smartphone sub-market to grow 43.7% year over year in 2011.”

Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, added that smartphone growth will lead to inevitable vendor ranking shake-up this year: “Change-up among the number four and five vendors could be a regular occurrence this year. Motorola, Research In Motion, and Sony Ericsson, all vendors with a tight focus on the fast-growing smartphone market who had ranked among the top five worldwide vendors during 2010, are well within striking distance to move back into the top five list.”

As IDC’s charts show, Apple and ZTE, which is rapidly growing from its home base in China, displayed the most remarkable growth in 4Q10 and the full year, nearly doubling units shipped during both time periods.