Samsung, Apple phones lead sales while Nokia droops

Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the global smartphone market, according to a report released Friday by IDC.

Samsung had 31.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market during the quarter that ended in September—more than twice Apple's 15 percent share, IDC reported.

The Korean handset maker also dominated the global market for all mobile phones with a 23.7 percent share.

According to IDC, Samsung shipped 56.3 million smartphones during the period, compared to Apple's 26.9 million.

Samsung's shipments during the quarter set another record for the company, IDC said, and was fueled by a "broad, deep and refreshed Android portfolio" led by a full quarter of availability of its flagship smartphone the Galaxy S III.

Apple smartphone shipments during the period were flat, IDC noted, but those shipment numbers represent only one week's sales of the company's latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, which sold five million units during its first weekend of availability. According to IDC, iPhone 5 sales weren't dampened by problems with its mapping software.

Overall, the global smartphone market grew by 45.3 percent over shipments during the same quarter a year ago, to 179.7 million from 123.7 million.

By comparison, shipments for the entire global mobile phone market increased 2.4 percent during the period, to 444.5 million from 434.1 million in the third quarter of 2011.

Nokia falls from top 5

For the first time since 2004, when IDC started tracking mobile phone shipments, Nokia fell out of the top five rankings of smartphone makers, replaced by Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM). However the company remained number two in total mobile phone shipments with 18.7 percent of the market on shipments of 82.9 million units.

IDG

Nokia's smartphone fall, according to IDC, was precipitated by the continued rise of Samsung and Apple globally and the success of high-growth vendors like Huawei in China, where Nokia's dominance is on the wane.

"The company's transition away from Symbian-powered smart phones to one shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months," Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC, reports in a statement. "However, the smartphone market is still relatively nascent, which means there's room for multiple vendors and operating systems to flourish, including Nokia."

Other highlights from the IDC report:

  • Research In Motion shipments during the period were flat, but it was able to break into the top five smartphone sellers by relying on its installed base of 80 million users. Without a new model smartphone until next year, IDC noted, RIM's position as a top five smartphone maker "will be under tremendous pressure from other companies."
  • ZTE made it into the top five smartphone makers largely due to an increased interest in lower-cost smart phones in developing markets and a jump in sales in North America.
  • HTC lost market share in some mature markets, such as the United States, but was able to offset those losses through increased interest in some of its new models, like the One X and the EVO 4G. IDC added that HTC hopes to rejuvenate its global fortunes in the December quarter with two new Windows Phone 8 models, the 8X and 8S.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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