iPhone 4S on side

Apple may have just become the world’s largest smartphone vendor, but what happens when you widen the scope and look at worldwide mobile phone market share as a whole. After all, many manufacturers — Nokia in particular — still cater to feature phone users, and get a lot of their revenue from this market. (Yes, people do still use feature phones.)

Well, the Cupertino company and it’s hugely popular iPhone have now overtaken LG to become the world’s third-largest mobile phone vendor, according to IDC’s latest Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report. Its success is largely thanks to the iPhone 4S, which launched back in October 2012 and is shaping up to be Apple’s most successful iPhone yet.

This is Apple’s highest ever rank on IDC’s top five global mobile phone leaderboard, and it’s all because of that “record-breaking quarter of shipments” that the company recorded during the fourth quarter of 2011 (the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2012), with over 37 million units shipped and 8.7% of the global market share.

In comparison, LG only shipped 17.7 million units, claiming just 4.1% of the market share. However, Apple was beaten by both Samsung and Nokia: Samsung achieved 97.9 million shipments and claimed 22.8% of the market share, while Nokia achieved a whopping 113.5 million shipments for 26.6% of the market share.

But despite claiming the top spot, Nokia’s market share was down 8.2% year-on-year, as the Finnish company continues to lose out to the likes of the iPhone and Android-powered devices like the Galaxy Nexus. Apple showed the biggest year-on-year increase with a staggering 128.4% rise.

ZTE took fifth place in the leaderboard, with 17.1 million units shipped — just 0.6 million less than LG — and 4.0% of the global market share.

While it may seem to some of us that smartphones are taking over the world, believe it or not, the majority of units shipped during the fourth quarter of 2011 were feature phones.

Do you think Apple’s success will continue, or does the company have no chance of overtaking Samsung and Nokia?

[via SlashGear]