Smartphones Outsell ‘Dumbphones’ for First Time, Report Says

By Daniel Bean

Apr 26, 2013 4:00pm
gty smartphones dm 130426 wblog Smartphones Outsell Dumbphones for First Time, Report Says

Image credit: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Getty Images

Smartphones have finally outpaced feature phones (dumbphones) in unit of worldwide sales this past quarter, so says a new report by the International Data Corp.

Smartphone vendors shipped 216.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, which accounted for 51.6 percent of the worldwide mobile phone market. These numbers indicate a 41.6 percent increase over the number of smartphones shipped a year earlier, 152.7 million in the first quarter of 2012.

“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,” Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said in a statement released with the market report.

Richard Doherty, research director for Envisioneering market research group, told ABC News that he believes  the tip in numbers could also be attributed to many mobile phone operators simply wanting more smartphones. “It’s great for carriers, because smartphones use up more data than feature phones,” he said.

“This is like being an oil company and hearing that cars are going back to 14 miles to the gallon.”

READ: Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: An Android Phone Commitment You Won’t Regret

The decrease in sales for feature phones doesn’t mean they will completely drop off anytime soon, according to Doherty.

“A lot of feature phones get recycled,” he said. “Some people in developing countries are using them second and third hand.” Doherty also said that plenty of smaller countries have yet to develop 3G networks, rendering smartphones all but useless.

But even as the piece of the pie grows even larger for the smartphone market share, Doherty believes there would likely always be niche crowds of those who want inexpensive flip phones or prepaid phones strictly for voice calling.

Data from the IDC report shows Samsung as the world’s leading mobile phone maker with 115 million phones sold last quarter, 70.7 million of which were smartphones. Apple is shown as the third largest phone maker and second largest smartphone maker, with 37.4 million smartphones sold.

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