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Apple breaks into top five handset vendor rankings

Tim Cook's comments have dampened hopes that Apple will release an LTE iPhone this year

Strong sales of Apple’s iPhone during the third quarter have propelled the Californian vendor to fourth place in the global handset vendor rankings, according to data from IDC. While Apple has had a strong position in the smartphone segment since the launch of the first iPhone, this is the first time that it has made the top five in terms of overall shipments.

Apple saw an improvement of more than 90 per cent year on year for third quarter sales, shipping 14.1 million units. The leap in sales enabled the firm to overtake Sony Ericsson and Blackberry vendor Research In Motion to assume fourth place, behind Nokia, Samsung and LG.

RIM showed strong growth as well, improving its shipment volumes by 45.9 per cent year on year to 12.4 million. Samsung improved by 18.6 per cent to shift 71.4 million devices, while Nokia managed only a slight improvement in shipment numbers to 110.4 million, and continued to lose market share, dropping from 36.5 per cent for Q3 last year to 32.4 per cent in 2010.

LG was the only vendor in the top five to post a reduction in shipments, dropping ten per cent from 31.6 million to 28.4 million units. The downturn cost the Korean vendor 2.3 per cent market share, although it remains a significant distance ahead of Apple, with more than twice as many units shipped in the quarter.

IDC noted that there are now two smartphone-only vendors in the top five handset vendor table, highlighting the importance of the high end device segment in the overall market.

“The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market. Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC. “Vendors that aren’t developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the future.”

The firm said that Q3 2010 was the first quarter in which Sony Ericsson dropped out of the top five since it began tracking the market in 2004. The Swedish-Japanese goint venture shipped 10.4 million units.

Top five mobile phone vendors, shipments and market share Q3 2010 (units millions)

Vendor 3Q10 unit shipments 3Q10 Market share 3Q09 Unit shipments 3Q09 Market share 3Q10/3Q09 Change
Nokia 110.4 32.4% 108.5 36.5% 1.8%
Ssamsung 71.4 21.0% 60.2 20.3% 18.6%
LG 28.4 8.3% 31.6 10.6% -10.1%
Apple 14.1 4.1% 7.4 2.5% 90.5%
RIM 12.4 3.6% 8.5 2.9% 45.9%
Others 103.8 30.5% 80.9 27.2% 28.3%
Total 340.5 100% 297.1 100% 40.6%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, October 28, 2010

  • Nokia Corporation

  • Samsung Electronics


One comment

  1. Business Phones 29/10/2010 @ 1:29 pm

    And about time it is as well! Apple have deserved this, in my opinion, the iPhone is one of the best devices to use in a long time.

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