IDC: Smartphones blitz Europe with 100% growth

While the handset market in Western Europe grew a little over 3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to research firm IDC, smartphones blew the doors off by registering a nearly 100 per cent increase, representing 44 per cent of all mobile phones shipped in the quarter.

This data from IDC's European Mobile Phone Tracker report also illustrates the decline in feature phones--down nearly 25 per cent for the fourth quarter--as this product category falls out of favour with operators in the rush to promote smartphones.

Operators across Europe focused their marketing campaigns on Android devices from HTC, Sony Ericsson and Samsung which, along with Apple's iPhone 4, were the most heavily advertised handsets in the fourth quarter, IDC said. IDC believes that this promotional effort contributed to sales of smartphones running Google's Android platform growing by over 1,580 per cent to 7.9 million units, up from 470,000 units in the year-ago period.

"The last quarter of 2010 clearly shows the trends for the coming years in Western Europe. The Western European mobile phone market will be dominated by smartphones, and Android will be the king of the hill,"  Francisco Jeronimo, the European mobile devices research manager at IDCm, said in a statement. "Android surged from 4 per cent to 31 per cent market share in less than a year to become the market leader in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fastest growing operating system ever. IDC estimates that Android will grow at a 37 per cent CAGR between 2010 and 2015 in Western Europe, overtaking the overall market growth in the period and that of its direct competitor, the iOS from Apple."

Jeronimo also noted that the transition Nokia will make to support Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will create opportunities for other operating systems. "Android and iOS will fiercely compete to attract all current Symbian users as they will need to migrate to another platform in the future," he said.

Nokia continued to suffer, with shipments falling by 11 per cent year-over-year and with its overall  handset market share sliding to 33 per cent for the quarter, compared to 39 per cent in the same quarter in 2009. However, the company did report good sales of its new N8 flagship handset for the quarter. 

Apple and RIM both registered strong fourth-quarter results, with the iPhone vendor managing to record a 66 per cent year-over-year growth in smartphone deliveries, while RIM's shipments grew 67 per cent, helped by a successful portfolio with prepaid offers and strong campaigns across major operators in Europe.

For more:
- see this IDC release

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