Smartphone Shipments Reach 60 Million Units In 2Q

Strategy Analytics predicts continued upward trend, but "growth ceiling" due to increased competition.
Apple saw slight growth in the second quarter and RIM was flat, Mawston said. "The growth story is still on an upward trend but not as much as in the past and it's approaching a growth ceiling."

As compared with a couple of years ago, Mawston said, the smartphone market has become a high-growth segment but also a highly competitive segment. "This wasn't the case a year or two ago when the market was more open to experimentation and innovation and lower penetration among vendors, so they were more open to negotiation with carriers, and the carriers were more open to discussion about more brands and devices and stocking more [inventory]."

Now the carriers are less willing to discuss new models since the smartphone market has become so much more crowded, he said.

The main regions for smartphones are the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. The emerging markets are China, Brazil, India, and Russia, Mawston said.

The third quarter will see continued growth but not be quite as strong as in 1Q and 2Q because the western markets are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, he said. Apple's iPhone 4 should gain more share and RIM and Nokia both have new models coming out in the second half of the year, which should help them stabilize their market share, he said.

"The holiday season in 4Q will either be a bonanza or a bloodbath,'' said Mawston, "a bonanza in the sense that we'll see record volume and strong growth with people buying gifts in the western markets... but it could also be a bloodbath because there are dozens of vendors willing to be extremely competitive that could have an impact" because they'll be cutting prices. "That's never a phrase the industry likes to hear,'' he said.

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