Apple moved ahead of Motorola in unit sales in the first quarter of 2010, with the iPhone taking a 3% share of the total cell phone market, according to the iSuppli research group (http://www.isuppli.com).
In fact, Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple rose to the fifth and sixth positions in the global market for all types of cell phones, while Motorola fell to eighth place. RIM, whose cell phone line consists entirely of Blackberry smart phone devices, achieved the best results of the Top 10 cell phone brands in the first quarter, with its shipments rising by 364,000 units or 3.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. This defied the industrywide slowdown and caused the company’s rank to rise to No. 5 in the global cell phone market, up from eighth place in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Apple in the first quarter shipped 8.8 million iPhones giving it a 3.04 percent share of global shipments. Company shipments rose by 0.2% from 8.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, giving it the No. 6 position in the market in the first quarter, up from ninth place in the fourth quarter of 2009. Apple achieved the second-largest sequential increase in shipments among the Top 10 brands.
RIM and Apple were the only smart phone brands among the Top 10 to achieve sequential quarterly growth. In contrast, Motorola in the first quarter posted a 29.2% decline in shipments to 8.5 million units, down from 12 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. This caused the company’s rank to slide two positions to eighth place.
“Smart phones represent the hottest segment of the cell phone market, with unit shipment growth of 35.5% expected in 2010, compared to 11.3 percent for the overall mobile handset business,” says Tina Teng, senior analyst, wireless communications, for iSuppli. “Because of this, companies that are exclusively focused on this area, like RIM and Apple, have managed to move up to near the top-tier of the global cell phone business. This shows that the smart phone is reshaping the competitive landscape of the wireless business.”
And the advance of smart-phone-oriented brands in the mobile handset business may not be over yet.
“RIM is now within a hair’s breadth of displacing Sony Ericsson for the No. 3 rank in the global cell phone market,” Teng says. “It will be interesting to see how much more market share RIM and Apple can gain in 2010.”