Smartphone sales growth sluggish as Samsung soars (survey)

Samsung can celebrate success in the smartphone market, but overall, smartphone sales have slowed.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

Despite some legal problems around the world surrounding the Galaxy S series, Samsung has found itself at the top of a number of smartphone sales lists in the last few months.

The latest one comes from market intelligence firm IDC, which found that the Seoul-based corporation has become the new leader in the worldwide smartphone market, with total smartphone shipments surpassing 20 million units for the first time ever in the company's history.

To get a better idea of the standings, check out the chart below:

However, while Samsung certainly has something to celebrate, there is a larger trend at play here, which isn't exactly very praiseworthy.

IDC found that smartphone sales growth has actually slowed down more than expected at 42.6 percent growth in Q3 2011, while IDC predicted 49.1 percent for the third quarter. It's also far lower than the 66.7 percent growth seen during the second quarter of 2011.

A major culprit here could be pricing. As discussed repeatedly during the Open Mobile Summit this week, smartphone shipments are rising worldwide and are attracting many more mobile customers away from featurephones.

Nevertheless, featurephones still have a huge chunk of the market because they're, quite simply, cheaper. The average smartphone costs $199.99 with a two-year service agreement, which entails expensive monthly costs for voice and data plans. Some mobile OEMs are challenging that bar by bringing the starting price for a smartphone up to $249.99. That's just too much for many consumers.

But another potential reason we've seen slower third quarter growth is perhaps consumers are just waiting for sale prices and discounts during the upcoming holiday season. Thus, if there is a definitely slowdown at play here, it will be better seen after the fourth quarter.

[Chart via IDC]


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