IDC: LG drops to No. 5 in global handset maker rankings

LG Electronics fell to No. 5 in the global handset vendor rankings in the first quarter, according to research firm IDC, another marker of the struggles for the South Korean vendor, which had perennially been ranked No. 3 behind Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Samsung Electronics. 

IDC handset vendor rankings first quarter 2012

Click here for IDC's rankings of the top handset makers in the first quarter of 2012.

IDC had ranked LG No. 4 in the world in the fourth quarter behind Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and now places LG behind both the iPhone maker and Chinese vendor ZTE. IDC, which delayed publishing its quarterly report on the handset market last week, tracked closely with the figure Strategy Analytics reported.

According to IDC, Samsung came out on top with 93.8 million total handset shipments. Nokia followed with 82.7 million, Apple with 35.1 million, ZTE with 19.1 million and LG with 13.7 million. ZTE and LG had not been included in Strategy Analytics' report. According to IDC, the worldwide mobile phone market declined 1.5 percent year-over-year in the first quarter. Worldwide, vendors shipped 398.4 million units in the quarter compared to 404.3 million units in the first quarter of 2011.

For LG, the swift fall from No. 3 to No. 5 has been accompanied by a decline in feature phone sales even as it shifts to more smartphones. The company is banking on its sale of Android smartphones, particularly those with LTE and quad-core processors, to buoy its results this year. LG confirmed that, for now at least, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone is taking a back seat at the company to Android development. ZTE, meanwhile, is focused on bringing more smartphones to market this year, particularly in developed markets like the United States and Western Europe.

Like Strategy Analytics, IDC also found that Samsung bested Apple for the smartphone crown. According to IDC, Samsung shipped 42.2 million smartphones in the first quarter, to Apple's 35.1 million. That fits closer to Strategy Analytics' estimate of 44.5 million. IHS iSuppli had said Apple beat Samsung, and that Samsung only shipped 32 million smartphones in the quarter. The rankings are complicated by the fact that Samsung no longer reveals quarterly handset shipments, forcing research firms to extrapolate and estimate how many units Samsung moved in the quarter.

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