Global Smartphone sales increase 42% in third quarter

Worldwide sales of Smartphones totalled 115 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 42 percent from the same quarter of 2010 and up 7% form the second quarter of 2011 according to a recent report from Gartner.

The research firm says smartphone sales accounted for 26 percent of all mobile phone sales, growing only marginally from 25 percent in the previous quarter.

Worldwide sales of all mobile phones reached 440.5 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 5.6 percent from the same period last year.

“Strong smartphone growth in China and Russia helped increase overall volumes in the quarter, but demand for smartphones stalled in advanced markets such as Western Europe and the U.S. as many users waited for new flagship devices featuring new versions of the key operating systems,” said Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza.

Samsung became the number one smartphone manufacturer worldwide as sales to end users tripled year over year to reach 24 million. Gartner attributes this to the strong performance of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, which now cover a broad range of prices, and a weaker competitive market. Analysts expect more competition in the fourth quarter of 2011, not least because sales of the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS will capture share from Android manufacturers.

Apple shipped 17 million iPhones, an annual increase of 21 percent, but down nearly 3 million units from the second quarter of 2011 because of Apple’s new device announcement in October. Gartner believes Apple will bounce back in the fourth quarter because of its strongest ever preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first weekend after its announcement. Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple, representing 16 percent of overall sales and showing that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets, especially now that the 3GS and 4 have received price cuts.

The Android OS accounted for 52.5 percent of smartphone sales to end users in the third quarter of 2011 (see Table below), more than doubling its market share from the third quarter of 2010.


“Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM,” Ms. Cozza said. “Apple’s iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone. Continued pressure is impacting RIM’s performance, and its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the U.S. market, where it dropped to 10 percent.”

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