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Strong iPhone Sales Shove Android’s Market Share Down in Q4

iPhone 4s

Strong sales of Apple’s iPhone resulted in a slight decline in Android smartphone sales during the fourth quarter, Gartner said in a report published on Wednesday. Android has so far only seen solid quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year sales growth and Gartner said the operating system’s first decline was partly to blame on “weakness of key Android vendors as they struggled to create unique and differentiated devices.” Still, Android saw excellent sales growth year over year. Its market share jumped from 30.5% during the fourth quarter of 2010 to 50.9% during the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple’s share jumped from 15.8% to 23.8% during the same period.

Symbian maintains the third largest smartphone operating system share, in terms of worldwide smartphone sales, with an 11.7% grip on the market. Symbian’s market share was followed by RIM’s BlackBerry OS (8.8%, down from 14.6%), bada (2.1%, up from 2.0%) and Microsoft’s Windows Phone (0.8%, down from 1.5%). “Nokia’s first Windows Phone smartphones, the Lumia 710 and 800, made their debut, but, as expected, sales were not enough to prevent a fall in Microsoft’s smartphone market share,” Gartner said in its report.

The research firm also noted that there were 149 million smartphones sold globally during the quarter, up from the 101 million sold during the fourth quarter of 2010. Nokia still has the largest market share in terms of global mobile phone sales, but its share fell from 28.9% to 23.6% year-over-year. Samsung’s share jumped .1 percentage point to 17.7%, Apple’s share grew 2.1 percentage points to a 5% share, LG’s share fell from 7.1%to 4.9% and ZTE’s share jumped from 1.9% to 3.2%.

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Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Soared in Fourth Quarter of 2011 With 47 Percent Growth

Apple Became Top Smartphone Vendor in Fourth Quarter of 2011 and in 2011 as a Whole

Egham, UK, February 15, 2012—

          Worldwide smartphone sales to end users soared to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 47.3 per cent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. Total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472 million units and accounted for 31 percent of all mobile devices sales, up 58 percent from 2010.

Smartphone volumes during the quarter rose due to record sales of Apple iPhones. As a result, Apple became the third-largest mobile phone vendor in the world, overtaking LG. Apple also became the world’s top smartphone vendor, with a market share of 23.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the top smartphone vendor for 2011 as a whole, with a 19 percent market share. “Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive quarters of slow sales.”

The quarter saw Samsung and Apple cement their positions further at the top of the market as their brands and new products clearly stood out. LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion (RIM) again recorded disappointing results as they struggled to improve volumes and profits significantly. These vendors were also exposed to a much stronger threat from the midrange and low end of the smartphone market as ZTE and Huawei continued to gain share during the quarter.

Worldwide mobile device sales to end users totaled 476.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 5.4 percent increase from the same period in 2010 (see Table 1). In 2011 as a whole, end users bought 1.8 billion units, an 11.1 percent increase from 2010 (see Table 2). “Expectations for 2012 are for the overall market to grow by about 7 percent, while smartphone growth is expected to slow to around 39 percent,” said Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Nokia’s mobile phone sales numbered 111.7 million units, an 8.7 percent decrease from last year. “Samsung closed the gap with Nokia in overall market share,” said Ms. Cozza. “Samsung profited from strong smartphone sales of 34 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. The troubled economic environment in Europe and Nokia’s weakened brand status posed challenges that were hard to overcome in just one quarter. However, Nokia proved its ability to execute and deliver on time with its new Lumia 710 and 800 handsets. Nokia will have to continue to offer aggressive prices to encourage communications service providers (CSPs) to add its products to portfolios currently dominated by Android-based devices.”

Table 1
Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q11 (Thousands of Units)

 

Company

4Q11

Units

4Q11 Market Share (%)

4Q10

Units

4Q10 Market Share (%)

Nokia

111,699.4

23.4

122,278.1

27.1

Samsung

92,682.3

19.4

79,168.7

17.5

Apple

35,456.0

7.4

16,011.1

3.5

ZTE

18,915.1

4.0

9,033.9

2.0

LG Electronics

16,938.3

3.6

30,119.1

6.7

Huawei

13,966.2

2.9

7,824.0

1.7

Research In Motion

13,184.5

2.8

14,762.0

3.3

HTC

10,837.4

2.3

8,907.0

2.0

Motorola

10,075.3

2.1

10,908.4

2.4

Alcatel

9,004.7

1.9

7,997.9

1.8

Others

143,795.8

30.2

145,026.3

32.1

Total

476,554.9

100.0

452,036.5

100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2012)

Table 2
Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2011 (Thousands of Units)

 

Company

2011

Units

2011 Market Share (%)

2010

Units

2010 Market Share (%)

Nokia

422,478.3

23.8

461,318.2

28.9

Samsung

313,904.2

17.7

281,065.8

17.6

Apple

89,263.2

5.0

46,598.3

2.9

LG Electronics

86,370.9

4.9

114,154.6

7.1

ZTE

56,881.8

3.2

29,686.0

1.9

Research In Motion

51,541.9

2.9

49,651.6

3.1

HTC

43,266.9

2.4

24,688.4

1.5

Huawei

40,663.4

2.3

23,814.7

1.5

Motorola

40,269.0

2.3

38,553.7

2.4

Sony Ericsson

32,597.5

1.8

41,819.2

2.6

Others

597,326.9

33.7

485,452.0

30.4

Total

1,774,564.1

100.0

1,596,802.4

100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2012)

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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