ABI Research says first-quarter handset sales were not nearly as dire as early forecasts had predicted. An ABI report shows handset vendors shipped a combined 258 million handsets by the end of the first quarter.
While the numbers beat early estimates that had put total shipments around 253.5 million, the first quarter still saw an 11 percent decline from last year.
“As always, there are winners and losers,” commented ABI’s practice director, Kevin Burden, in the report. “Samsung and LG demonstrated healthy gains to take their market shares to 17.8 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively. Another star performer was RIM, which raised its share to 3.0% due largely to the success of its BlackBerry Bold.”
Burden said it was “a little curious” that Apple’s market share is just 1.5 percent given the success of its App Store. He cited competition in the touchscreen segment and a lack of product differentiation as possible reasons.
ABI expects that by the second half of 2009, the iPhone 3G will have one or more siblings that will allow Apple to accelerate growth.
Nokia and Sony Ericsson showed the largest contractions, with market shares that stand at 36.2 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.
Nokia is preparing for the release of the N97 smartphone, and Sony Ericsson has the Experia smartphone line-up.
The report also found that while feature phones are practical and there has been a demonstrated demand for them, operators have been especially keen to snap up smartphone stock and were cooler on the ultra-low cost and feature phone orders.
Despite the positive signs, ABI stressed caution in its report, citing a recent issuance from the IMF of another sharp downgrade in global futures.