Apple falls to Samsung in Q3 smartphone sales as overall handset shipments grow

Both IDC and Strategy Analytics reported that worldwide mobile phone sales grew in the third quarter, with global smartphone sales claiming a large proportion of those sales. Interestingly, Strategy Analytics noted that Samsung surpassed Apple to become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume with 24 percent market share.

handset and smartphone shipment and market share for q3

Click here for four charts on the global handset and smartphone market in the third quarter.

IDC reported the overall global handset market grew 12.8 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2011 as vendors shipped 393.7 million units in the third quarter, compared with 348.9 million in third quarter 2010. But IDC noted that smartphone growth declined in mature markets such as the U.S. and Europe as consumers waited for products such as the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4S, which was released after the third quarter closed. Nevertheless, IDC noted that smartphones continue to make up a larger proportion of devices shipped by vendors.  

Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics reported that smartphone shipments grew 44 percent annually to reach 117 million units in the third quarter. And research firm ABI reported that smartphone shipments grew 33 percent year-over-year to reach 28.8 percent of total handsets shipped.

Strategy Analytics noted that Apple slipped behind Samsung to second position after spending just one quarter in the lead in smartphone sales. In the third quarter Apple had 15 percent market share and its growth rate slowed to just 21 percent annually in the third quarter, its lowest for two years. Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston attributed this to the launch of the iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter as well as tougher competition from Samsung's popular Galaxy SII model. Strategy Analytics ranked Nokia as No. 3 with 16.8 percent of the smartphone market share.  

On the global handset front, IDC found that Nokia (NYSE:NOK) still tops the list of mobile phone vendors with 106.6 million units shipped in third quarter and 27.1 percent of the market, but Samsung is closing the gap. According to IDC, Samsung ended the quarter with 87.8 million units shipped and 22.3 percent of the market, followed by LG with 21.1 million units shipped and 5.4 percent of the market. ZTE is No. 4 with 19.1 million units and 4.9 percent of the market followed by Apple with 17.1 million units and 4.3 percent of the global market.   

ABI Research however said that Nokia claimed 28 percent of the worldwide handset market in the third quarter, noting that the company did a remarkable job of increasing its market share from 24.6 percent in the second quarter by cutting prices and clearing out excess inventory. In addition, ABI believes that ZTE is poised to take the third position from LG when it officially announces its third quarter results next

For more:
- see this IDC release
- see this Strategy Analytics release
- see this Strategy Analytics release
- see this ABI release

Related Articles:
IDC: Android to own 40% of global smartphone market by year's end
IDC: Apple closes in on Nokia as world's largestsmartphone vendor