Worldwide sales of mobile devices totaled 440.5 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 5.6% from the same period last year, according to Gartner (http://www.gartner.com).
Smartphone sales to end users reached 115 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 42% from the third quarter of 2010, according to the research group. Sequentially, smartphone sales slowed to 7% growth from the second quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2011. Smartphone sales accounted for 26% of all mobile phone sales, growing only marginally from 25% in the previous quarter. ”
Some consumers held off upgrading in the third quarter because they were waiting for promotions on other new high-end models that were launched in the run-up to the fourth quarter holiday season,” says Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Other consumers were waiting for a rumored new iPhone and associated price cuts on older iPhone models; this affected U.S. sales particularly.”
Despite a drop in market share, Nokia continued to be the worldwide leader in mobile device sales as it accounted for 23.9% of global sales. Samsung become the number one smartphone manufacturer worldwide as sales to end users tripled year over year to reach 24 million. However, analysts expect more competition in the fourth quarter of 2011, not least because sales of the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS will capture share from Android manufacturers.
Apple shipped 17 million iPhones, an annual increase of 21% but down nearly three million units from the second quarter of 2011 because of Apple’s new device announcement in October. Gartner believes Apple will bounce back in the fourth quarter because of its strongest ever preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first weekend after its announcement. Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple, representing 16% of overall sales and showing that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets, especially now that the 3GS and 4 have received price cuts.
The Android OS accounted for 52.5% of smartphone sales to end users in the third quarter of 2011, more than doubling its market share from the third quarter of 2010.
“Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM,” Cozza says. “Apple’s iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone. Continued pressure is impacting RIM’s performance, and its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the U.S. market, where it dropped to 10%.”