As a device class, the smartphone is taking the technology market by storm and it is showing few signs of slowing down.
Worldwide, vendors shipped 237.9 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2013, a whopping 52.3 percent gain over the same year-ago period, reported IDC. Compared to the previous quarter (1Q13), shipments rose by 10 percent.
Smartphone makers, even those trailing in the rankings, have reason to take an optimistic view of the market. "The smartphone market is still a rising tide that's lifting many ships," said IDC senior analyst Kevin Restivo, in a statement.
"Though Samsung and Apple are the dominant players, the market is as fragmented as ever. There is ample opportunity for smartphone vendors with differentiated offerings," added Restivo.
While Samsung and Apple cast a huge shadow over the premium smartphone scene, "they were not the only vendors active in the high end of the market, and recent device introductions and upcoming launches signal more vendors targeting this space," said IDC research manager Ramon Llamas in remarks. "Comparisons will certainly be made to the flagship Galaxy and iPhone models, but clearly the competition refuses to be shut out altogether," he stated.
Samsung was far and away the smartphone leader in the second quarter. The Korean electronics giant claimed a 30.4 percent share of the market with shipments of 72.4 million units.
Samsung cemented its place at the top with its hot-selling Galaxy S4 and the enduring popularity of its low-cost predecessor, the Galaxy S3. "By the end of the quarter, Samsung more than doubled the total volumes of the next largest vendor, and shipped more units than the next four vendors combined," informed IDC.
Apple took the number two spot with 31.2 million units and 13.1 percent market share. Upgraders are playing the waiting game, which is tempering demand says IDC. "Apple posted its second-lowest year-over-year iPhone growth rate in almost four years as some buyers presumably held off on iPhone purchases in advance of an expected next-generation device launch this fall," stated the research group.
LG, Lenovo and ZTE rounded out the top five. LG has Google's mobile operating system and a refreshed smartphone lineup for its strong showing. LG is generating profits "from its steady diet of Android-powered smartphones, a feat that very few Android vendors have been able to realize," noted IDC. Armed with a "reinvigorated" product slate that includes the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G Pro, the company is gunning for the high end of the market with the "upcoming G2, and into the mass market with its L-Series II and F-Series smartphones," added the market research firm.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.