Global Smartphone Shipments Up 55%, iPhone Leads The Way
February 7, 2012

Global Smartphone Shipments Up 55%, iPhone Leads The Way

Global shipments of smartphones surged during the fourth quarter of 2011, with Apple Inc.´s iPhone 4S and Samsung´s Galaxy Nexus leading the way, International Data Corporation (IDC) reported on Monday.

Shipments of smartphones made by Nokia, Research in Motion Ltd. and HTC finished the quarter in third, fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

According to the IDC report, there were 158 million smartphones shipped globally during the fourth quarter, a 55 percent increase over the 102 million units shipped during the same period in 2010.

Apple, which shipped 37 million iPhones during the three months ending December 31, 2011, was the top seller within the United States and worldwide, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based research firm said.

IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said the iPhone 4S, which went on sale in October and helped Apple double its profit during the quarter, “played a key role in smartphone growth to capture pent-up demand.”

Global demand for smartphones has surged in recent months amid falling prices that have attracted new customers and enticed existing users to trade up to more powerful phones.

By the end of 2011, one out of every three mobile phones shipped worldwide was a smartphone, IDC said.

Apple´s share of the global smartphone market grew to 24 percent during the fourth quarter from 16 percent during the same period in 2010, surpassing Samsung Electronics Co. as the top-selling smartphone maker during the quarter.

Samsung´s fourth quarter year-over-year market share grew from 9.4 percent in 2010 to 23 percent in 2011, IDC said.

Meanwhile, Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM and Espoo, Finland-based Nokia saw their respective market shares shrink during the fourth quarter as both companies scramble to reverse slowing sales.

Nokia´s market share tumbled to 12 percent from 28 percent a year earlier, while RIM´s market share fell to 8.2 percent from 14 percent the previous year.

HTC Corp., whose phones run on Google´s Android operating system, saw its market share fell to 6.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, down from 8.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2010.

On a full-year basis, global shipments of smartphone reached 491.4 million units in 2011, up 61.3% from the 304.7 million units shipped in 2010, IDC said.

Although this surpassed IDC's full-year estimate of 54.7% growth for the year, it fell below 2010's year-over-year growth of 75.7%.

“Although this marks a slowdown from 2010, IDC still fully expects continued double-digit growth for the foreseeable future,” the research firm said.


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