Worldwide smartphone sales totalled 32.2-million units in the second quarter of 2008, a 15.7% increase from the second quarter of 2007, according to Gartner. In addition, of all mobile device sales, smartphones' share remained stable at 11%.
"Although global smartphone sales to end users [in the first half of 2008] reached 64-million units, up 22% compared with the first half of 2007, sales increased at a lower rate than in 2007," says Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. "The current economic environment continues to negatively impact the market, limiting consumer spending and replacement purchases in general. In addition, smartphone sales slowed down as a result of new compelling touch technology mainly available on enhanced phones (based on proprietary operating systems) rather than smartphones.
"Wider availability of new touch smartphone models together with the global introduction of the iPhone 3G will help sales of smartphones return to stronger growth in the third quarter of 2008," she says.
On a regional level, the North American market remained among the fastest-growing markets in the second quarter of 2008 with an increase of 78.7% year over year. The region also accounted for almost 25% of the global smartphone sales to end users. Europe, the Middle East and Africa exhibited 21% growth year over year; Western Europe drove much of the growth in the region with a 29.3% increase. Finally, the markets of Asia/Pacific and Japan declined 4.8% and 24%, respectively.
Although Nokia held the No 1 position with a 47.5% market share in the second quarter of 2008, its year-over-year growth was about half of the market average.
"To stay competitive, Nokia will need to introduce more design variations amongst its Nseries models and keep innovating. The expected introduction of a touch-screen smartphone in the second half of 2008 will test the company's capability to show differentiation and innovation," says Cozza.
Research In Motion (RIM) recorded another strong quarter. The vendor's smartphone sales were up 126% year over year, and the company's market share nearly doubled compared with the second quarter of 2007. RIM continued to execute well at the consumer level, increasing its global market reach. In the second half of the year, the company is expected to launch smartphones based on new form factors, which are necessary to keep pace with the competition at the consumer level.
HTC gained the No 3 position during the second quarter of 2008, moving up from the No 7 ranking in the first quarter. HTC's sales more than doubled year over year, but its overall share was flat at 4 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2008. HTC continued to perform well during the second quarter primarily thanks to sales of its Touch product line.
In the second quarter of 2008, Apple's share of global smartphone sales to end users decreased to 2.8% from 5.3% in the first quarter of 2008. The significant drop in sales was mainly due to the company having to clean the channel of first-generation iPhone units before the arrival of the iPhone 3G in June.