Smartphone shipments overtook those of feature phones in the first quarter of 2013, the first time the balance has shifted in this way, according to research house IDC.
The company said that the worldwide mobile phone market grew by 4 per cent year on year to reach 418.6 million units, of which 216.2 million (51.6 per cent) were smartphones. This sector saw growth of 41.6 per cent year-on-year.
Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with the company, said: “Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away.”
In terms of the market as a whole, Samsung was the largest vendor, shipping 115 million units to achieve a market share of 27.5 per cent. Nokia was some way behind on 61.9 million units, and market share of 14.8 per cent.
For smartphones, Samsung again led the way, with 70.4 million shipments and market share of 32.7 per cent, followed by Apple, with shipments of 37.4 million and 17.3 per cent market share.
LG returned to the smartphone top-5 after a two-year absence, following a bumper quarter for the company.
Significantly, considering it only sells a handful of premium smartphones (iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, in several versions), Apple’s shipments of 37.4 million were also enough to make it the third biggest mobile phone maker overall.