While the demise of Nokia has been on-going for some time now, the Finnish manufacturer has always remained a top seller of mobile phones. Now that title has been taken off it too.
Analyst group IDC has just published figures for phone sales in western Europe for the first quarter of 2011 and the news is not good for Nokia, though that should be no surprise. Samsung has overtaken Nokia as the top seller of mobile phones in general, while Apple has taken the top spot as smartphone vendors – again taking Nokia’s title. The other big winner was Android which has gone from fourth position last year to become the best selling mobile OS in the first three months of 2011. Last year Android accounted for just 8 percent of the smartphone market but it is now the most popular OS holding 35 percent of the market. Symbian, which was the number one OS last year has gone from 40 percent market share to just 20 percent.
Overall the mobile phone market grew by 5 percent year-on-year to 45 million handsets, but despite this growth Nokia sales slipped by 10 percent. While Samsung claimed top spot with a modest 5 percent growth both Apple and RIM doubled their sales year-on-year while Taiwanese manufacturer HTC almost tripled its sales growing by 271 percent – thanks largely to the popularity of Android. Smartphone sales grew by 76 percent year-on-year with Apple topping the market with a 20.8 percent share – however this is down from its 24 percent share it had last year. Samsung was the biggest winner in this section going from just 300,000 smartphone sales in Q1 2010 to 2.6 million handsets in the first three months of 2011.
"Companies like Nokia (and Ericsson in the past) may have strong brands and big market shares as Nokia always had, but can be overtaken by their competitors on a blink of an eye," said Francisco Jeronimo, IDC's European mobile devices research manager. "Nokia is one of the most recognized and appreciated brands in Europe, but Samsung was the one understanding the trends first and moving faster.” The figures won’t come as a surprise for anyone at Nokia and they’ll be keeping their fingers crossed that the Nokia Windows phone is able to take advantage of the quickly expanding smartphone market.