While the Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia may not be setting the world alight with its smartphone sales at the moment, it has retained its position as the world’s number one phone manufacturer shipping 417 million phones in 2011.
Nokia’s market share however has fallen significantly from one year ago when it had 32.6 per cent of the mobile phone market, compared to just 27 per cent now. Nokia has been on the dnowward slope for some years now but IDC, which produces these figures, expects that Nokia will retain its number one position for at least one more year.
Quickly closing in on Nokia however is Samsung, with 21.3 per cent of the market in 2011, a rise of 17 per cent year-on-year. This growth is attributed to the success of its flagship smartphones such as the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus. It shipped a total of 329m phones in 2011, and broke the 90m unit barrier for the first time in the final quarter of 2011.
Next on the list is Apple which almost doubled its market share in 2011, going from 3.4 per cent in 2010 to 6 per cent in 2011, shipping 93m iPhones. The main reason it managed to jump ahead of ZTE and LG was the launch of the iPhone 4S in October, with Apple shipping 37 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2011 – which was a 128.4 per cent increase of the same quarter last year.
Fourth in the list is LG which has 5.7 per cent of the mobile phone market which is a drop of 24 per cent compared to last year when it was in third position. LG volumes declined for the third quarter in succession, blamed on waning interest in its feature phone line-up and stalled smartphone shipments.
ZTE have long been seen as the coming force in the mobile phone world and having jumped into the top five last year has consolidated its place there this year. The company almost took fourth spot from LG in the final quarter of 2011 shipping 17.1m handsets in that quarter. Overall in 2011 it shipped 66.1m phones growing its market share to 4.3 per cent.
Overall, the worldwide phone market grew by 6.1 per cent year-over-year for the fourth quarter of 2011 with vendors shipping 427.4 million units compared to 402.8 million units in Q4 2010.
"The mobile phone market exhibited unusually low growth last quarter, which shows it is not immune to weaker macroeconomic conditions worldwide," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "The introduction of high-growth products such as the iPhone 4S, which shipped in the fourth quarter, bolstered smartphone growth. Yet overall market growth fell to its lowest point since 3Q09 when the global economic recession was in full bloom."