Apple remains the second-largest smartphone vendor, shipping 37.4 million iPhones. (Some analysts gave Apple the edge in the fourth quarter.) That’s an annual growth rate of just 6.6 percent, though, the slowest of the top five vendors. The last time iPhone sales posted a single-digit year-on-year growth rate was in the third quarter of 2009.
LG, on the hand, managed to more that double its shipments, to 10.3 million units. That was enough to outship both Huawei Technologies and ZTE, which last year were ahead of the South Korean vendor. LG’s growth was driven in large part by its 3G smartphone portfolio, including the L series and the Nexus 4. LTE-enabled devices, including the Optimus G series, also contributed to LG’s success, according to IDC.
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE were in fourth and fifth place respectively. Huawei grew shipments by 94.1 percent to 9.9 million units. Since the first quarter of 2012, Huawei has successfully decreased its dependence on rebranded feature phones while growing its Ascend portfolio smartphones, IDC said.
ZTE shipped 9.1 million smartphones, a 49.2 percent increase year on year, thanks to a strong showing in the Asia-Pacific region and North America, according to IDC.
The top five vendors during the first quarter of 2012 were Samsung, Apple, Nokia, RIM, and HTC: The last three have all been passed by LG, Huawei and ZTE in the last twelve months.
Editor’s note: IDG is the parent company of both PCWorld and TechHive.
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