Nokia's dominance was so overwhelming that its shipments, 39% of the handset market, accounted for more than the next three suppliers combined.
Ramon T. Llamas, IDC senior research analyst, said the total market grew 14.3%, but he cautioned that sales could slip as the year progresses because the economy may continue to suffer.
"The mobile phone market will be under increased pressure from a number of factors that compete for users' attention and wallets," Llamas said in a statement. "Disposable income is being eroded by rising food and fuel prices, and worries about global financial markets and slow economic growth are creating a cautious outlook for the months ahead."
The saving grace, he added, is the "tremendous growth potential" in emerging markets. Llamas, who released the report Thursday, expects the low-cost segment to remain strong through the year.
Mobile phone suppliers shipped a total of 291.5 million units during the first quarter. That number was a 14.3% jump over the previous year's quarter, although, as expected, it was down from the last quarter of 2007, generally a holiday period, when 330.8 million handsets were shipped.
Samsung was in second place with a 15.9% market share in the first quarter. Samsung shipped 46.3 million units, while Motorola shipped 27.4 million units for a 9.4% share of the market. Both companies have problems in the senior management ranks as Samsung's chief executive resigned this week under pressure and Motorola is searching for someone to take over the helm of its Mobile Devices unit.
LG Electronics captured the fourth-place position in the IDC rankings with 24.4 million units shipped for an 8.4% share of market. Sony Ericsson was in fifth place with 22.3 million units shipped, representing 7.6% of the market.
Llamas issued a cautiously optimistic report for the remainder of the year. "Many emerging markets continue to offer tremendous growth potential," he said, "and IDC expects highly competitive pricing and innovative service plans will keep the overall market on track for the year."