FRAMINGHAM: The global mobile phone market grew by 6% year-on-year in the second quarter, with 432.1m handsets sold compared to 407.7m over the same period in 2012.

According to the Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from the International Data Corporation (IDC), a research firm, growth was partly driven by smaller smartphone vendors - those outside the "top five" of Samsung, Apple, LG, Lenovo and ZTE - who outpaced the overall market, especially with their sales to rapidly growing markets such as China and India.

Such vendors accounted for 44.8% of the overall quarterly sales volume, compared to 42.2% the year before.

Growth was especially strong in smartphones, with 237.9m units sold in the quarter, a 52.3% rise on the year.

“Though Samsung and Apple are the dominant players, the market is as fragmented as ever,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC.

“There is ample opportunity for smartphone vendors with differentiated offerings,” he added, suggesting that this must involve keeping prices affordable while continuing to offer premium devices and services.

The report found that Samsung saw record sales volumes, more than double those of its closest rival Apple and achieving a 30.14% market share. Its sales were greater than those of the next four largest sellers combined.

The news came as Strategy Analytics, another research firm, found in its Wireless Device Strategies report that Samsung had become the world's most profitable handset vendor during the second quarter, overtaking Apple for the first time.

The latter was hit by tougher competition in China eroding margins and a disappointing performance from its iPhone 5 handset, launched in late 2012, Strategy Analytics concluded.

Apple posted its second-worst year-on-year growth rate for iPhone sales in four years, which IDC suggested was due to consumers delaying purchases ahead of the expected launch of a new generation of the product in the autumn.

IDC also reported that LG maintained its momentum to take third place, doubling its sales from the year earlier period, while Lenovo returned to the top five of smartphone vendors, driven in large part by shipments to 3G operators in China.

ZTE's strong performance in the Asia-Pacific region led to it being among the leading vendors for the fourth year running, and it succeeded in increasing margins in a range of countries including India, where it recently launched six new smartphones.

Data sourced from International Data Corporation, Strategy Analytics; additional content by Warc staff