IDC Estimates 50% Growth in Worldwide Smartphone Market in 2011

The worldwide smartphone market is growing. And fast.

According to the latest projections by the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the global smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2% in 2011.

The growth will be driven by an ever-widening pool of consumers and enterprise users turning in their feature phones for more sophisticated smartphones.

The IDC’s research finds that smartphone vendors will likely ship more than 450 million smartphones in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units shipped in 2010.

“Overall market growth in 2010 was exceptional,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC. “Last year’s high market growth was due in part to pent-up demand from a challenging 2009, when many buyers held off on mobile phone purchases. The expected market growth for 2011, while still notable, will taper off somewhat from what we saw in 2010.”

The smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market.

With regard to which smartphone maker will most likely come out on top, IDC says it’s Android.

“Android is poised to take over as the leading smartphone operating system in 2011 after racing into the number 2 position in 2010,” says Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team.

“For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party. This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users.”