Global demand for smartphones remains strong. For the second calendar quarter in a row, smartphone shipments represented more than half (52 percent) of the world's mobile phone shipments.
Led by Samsung, an estimated 408 million handsets and 214 million smartphones shipped during the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.
In contrast, feature phone shipments declined 20 percent year-over-year to 195 million units, as low-cost manufacturers continue to claw their way up-market with increased features.
Due to typical seasonality gains at mid-year, overall handset shipments grew 0.5 percent sequentially and more than 7 percent year-over-year. Smartphone shipments maintained a healthy growth rate of 5.5 percent sequentially and nearly 44 percent year-over-year.
"Despite concerns of premium tier smartphone saturation, both Samsung and Apple were able to deliver better than expected results in the second quarter," said Michael Morgan, senior analyst at ABI Research.
The high end of the smartphone market continued to perform well in 2Q as Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhones outpaced the overall market. Despite the surprising tenacity of premium smartphones, Apple’s market share (14.6 percent) dropped to its lowest point since 3Q’2011.
ABI Research attributes the Apple share loss to the success of the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch -- and the continued growth of low cost and mass market smartphone shipments.
The second half of 2013 will be defined by fierce competition between price-aggressive OEMs moving toward the middle tiers for increased margins while at the same time top tier OEMs are diversifying portfolios into the middle in search of continued growth.
As competitors such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo move their smartphone portfolios upstream, ABI Research expects increasing margin pressure on the premium smartphone segment where the majority of industry profits reside.