Nokia, Samsung, Apple are top 3 leading mobile vendors – research

2 Feb 2012

Nokia is still the leading mobile phone vendor in the world, followed by Samsung and Apple, according to new research.

According to the IDC, Nokia was still the leader in global mobile shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011. It shipped 113.5m devices in the quarter.

Samsung came second, shipping a record 97.6m mobile devices within the quarter. It also shipped 300m units within the full year. The IDC said this was due to Samsung’s high-end devices, – such as the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus – its mid-range models and its Windows Phone smartphones.

Apple reached third in global smartphone shipments, rising from fifth place in the last quarter, thanks to record-breaking shipments of its new device, the iPhone 4S.

In fourth place was LG, whose total volumes declined for the third consecutive quarter, and in fifth was Chinese mobile vendor ZTE.

Global market

The global mobile phone market grew 6.1pc year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2011. While this was higher than the IDC’s forecast of 4.4pc, it was weaker than the 9.3pc growth seen in the third quarter of 2011.

“The mobile phone market exhibited unusually low growth last quarter, which shows it is not immune to weaker macroeconomic conditions worldwide,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

“The introduction of high-growth products such as the iPhone 4S, which shipped in the fourth quarter, bolstered smartphone growth. Yet overall market growth fell to its lowest point since 3Q09 when the global economic recession was in full bloom,” he said.

The feature phone market declined much faster than the IDC predicted, meaning it’s at its lowest point in more than two years.

Some 427.4m mobile phones were shipped in the last quarter of 2011, compared to 402.8m in the same quarter in the previous year. However, feature phones still make up of the majority of all mobile phone shipments in four out of five of the leading markets.

In Western Europe, the market was affected by lower demand, which the IDC attributes to the economic climate. While it says that Apple and Samsung had “excellent performances” in the region, Nokia experienced a difficult quarter due to its transition to Windows Phones.