Western European handset growth dominated by smartphones

The Western European mobile phone market grew by a fraction over 8 per cent year-on-year to 42.7 million units in the first quarter of 2010, according to IDC's European Mobile Phone Tracker.

However, the company said that shipments of smartphones surged in the same quarter to 12 million units, 57 per cent higher than in last year's first quarter, to represent 28 per cent of total shipments.

Of note, was that the more traditional handsets declined 4 per cent year-on-year to 30.7 million units, indicating the continuous trend toward smartphones.

"The first quarter is traditionally tough for phone makers as operators clear out old stock from the previous holiday season," said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager, IDC. "Still, operators are more cautious when launching new models and committing to high volumes, which drives more efficiency to their stock management policies and lower volumes to clear out after peak sales seasons. But last year's first quarter was the worst quarter ever for the mobile phone industry in the region, which makes this year's growth less expressive. On the other hand, the surge in smartphones also bolstered market growth at this time of the year." Article