Shipments of smartphones in Western Europe soared 57 percent in the first quarter over last year, marking a dramatic shift in a mobile phone market that has become a foundation of the electronics industry, research group IDC said.
The shift to smartphones is pushing far more high-value shipments through distribution channels, but for business serving mobile phone supply chains it also means smaller and likely fewer overall shipments with the all-in-one smartphones packing in features from various electronic devices.
The report released Wednesday said the overall mobile phone market in Western Europe counted 42.7 million units in the first three months of 2010.
That was an 8.1 percent improvement over the same quarter a year ago. But IDC said shipments of traditional mobile phones declined 4 percent from the same quarter a year ago and 30 percent from the fourth quarter 2009.
Shipments of iPhones, Blackberries and other smartphones grew 57 percent over last year’s weak first quarter, and the shipments also slipped from the fourth quarter, but only by 4 percent. The 12 million smartphone units shipped made up about 28 percent of the Western Europe mobile phone market.
IDC expects shipment growth in the overall market to remain relatively light. “Operators are more cautious when launching new models and committing to high volumes, which drives more efficiency in their stock management policies and lower volumes to clear out after peak sales seasons,” said Francisco Jeronimo of IDC’s Europe research group.