The worldwide mobile phone market grew 14.6% in the third quarter of 2010 (3Q10), the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, driven in part by the fast-growing converged mobile device category. And Apple entered the top five vendors in the global market.
According to the International Data Corporation (http://www.idc.com) research group, vendors shipped 340.5 million units in 3Q10 compared to 297.1 million units in the third quarter of 2009. The growing popularity of converged mobile devices, or smartphones, with consumers and businesspersons is evidenced by the appearance of a second smartphone-only vendor in the top five ranking, says the research group.
Apple moved into the number 4 position worldwide in 3Q10, joining Research In Motion (RIM) as one of the world’s largest mobile phone suppliers. RIM has spent three quarters on IDC’s leaderboard. Apple and RIM also posted the highest-growth rates among the top five vendors last quarter.
“The entrance of Apple to the top five vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market,” says aid Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s “Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.” “Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms. Vendors that aren’t developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the future.”
Apple, RIM, and the vendors producing Android-based smartphones have put noticeable pressure on Nokia, the overall market leader.
“Nokia still leads all vendors by a significant margin for converged mobile devices and mobile phones as a whole,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “However, Nokia’s grip on the traditional mobile phone market has been somewhat loosened, as multiple Chinese vendors have gained ground, especially within emerging markets. To bolster its overall competitiveness, Nokia has been focused on improving its smartphone offerings.”