Apple’s iPhone Stays Strong Even As Smartphone Shipments Dip

Smartphone shipments took a dip in the first quarter for the first time in a couple of years as manufacturers shipped 97.2 million phones in Q1, down 1.5% when compared with Q4.

According to IHS iSuppli who published these figures shipments for electronic goods generally slow down after the holiday season but the dip in smartphone industry is atypical. In contrast, Apple’s iPhone shipments jumped nearly 15% as the company shipped 18.6 million of its smartphones in the first quarter.

The market research firm credited the launch of Verizon iPhone 4 for strong sales in the first quarter. Tina Teng, IHS senior analyst for wireless communications, said:

Not only did this allow Apple to expand its target market and boost shipments, it also placed additional pressure on rival smart phone brands–including Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC–that focus on Verizon Wireless as a major customer,

Apple continues to remain at number two position on the list of top smartphone manufacturers in terms of total shipments however, companies like Nokia, Motorola saw sequential declines of 14.5% and 16.3% respectively.

Nokia’s tie-up with Microsoft is being viewed as one of the sting factors impacting sales as consumers anticipate newer models to feature the new Windows Phone platform. Ting said, “With the announcement of the deal, Nokia eliminated the incentive for consumers to buy its existing smartphone products, which are based on its Symbian and MeeGo operating systems. Meanwhile, the Microsoft deal is unlikely to yield any products for nearly one year,”

Apple’s clever timing for the Verizon iPhone 4 launch and then the White iPhone is certainly causing a positive impact on sales. The research firm also noted that RIM’s shipments were up 4.2% in the first quarter compared with the fourth. However, Research In Motion failed to catch up and was 4 percentage points behind Cupertino, Calif. based company in terms of shipments, compared with 2.1 points in Q4.

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