It’s becoming a smartphone world, according to new report from research firm IDC, which shows smartphone shipments eclipsing feature phones for the first time in Western Europe, rising to 52 percent of total mobile device shipments.
Feature phone shipments declined sharply in the second quarter as consumers increasingly move to smartphones, according to IDC’s latest European Mobile Phone Tracker report. Feature phone shipments were down 29 percent to 20.4 million units in 2Q11, while smartphone shipments increased 48 percent, to 21.8 million units, from a year ago.
The total Western European mobile phone market, however, declined 3 percent year-on-year to 42.2 million units in the quarter, according to IDC. IDC notes a number of factors for the overall decline, including a poor macroeconomic climate, the fall of Nokia and operators focusing on clearing inventories ahead of major releases in the third quarter, among them the next iPhone.
IDC attributes at least part of the feature phone decline to the fact the European operators are no longer subsidizing feature phones, as they have in the past, calling feature phones a “niche segment driven by the very-low-end devices targeted at users who only need a device for voice and texts.”
The smartphone market share breakdown in Western Europe is a familiar one. Android strengthened its leadership in the region, with shipments up 352 percent year-on-year to 10.5 million units, which represented 48.5 percent of total smartphone shipments. Samsung was the most representative Android manufacturer, supported by the success of the Galaxy devices family. Apple commanded 11 percent market share in the second quarter, shipping 4.6 million units in the quarter.
“Smartphones now dominate the Western European phone market and those vendors with stronger portfolios in the segment are consolidating their positions, compared with those manufacturers with less attractive smart devices,” said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager for IDC, in a statement. “Android-powered handsets from the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson have been able to drive strong volumes and to grab the biggest slice of share from the declining Symbian as Nokia moves to Windows Phones.”