Global smartphone sales hit 149m units in the fourth quarter of 2011, marking a 47.3pc increase from the previous year, according to Gartner research. Record sales of the iPhone 4S have been attributed as the reason for the increase.
According to Gartner, smartphone sales for the entirety of 2011 reached 472m units, up 58pc from 2010.
The launch of the iPhone 4S contributed to the rise in smartphone sales, allowing Apple to become the third-largest mobile phone vendor in the world. It also became the top smartphone vendor, with a 23.8pc market share in the fourth quarter of 2011. Western Europe and North America led Apple’s smartphone growth.
Samsung was the second-highest smartphone vendor, while according to Gartner, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and RIM recorded “disappointing results.” These vendors also were threatened by mid-range and low-end smartphone vendors ZTE and Huawei.
When it came to operating systems in the fourth quarter, Android was still in the lead with 75m sales, though this declined slightly sequentially due to the launch of the iPhone 4S. iOS came second with 35m units sold, while Symbian came third, dropping sharply in market share from the same period in 2010.
Overall, global mobile device sales reached 476.5m in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 5.4pc increase from the same time in 2010. In 2011 in total, consumers bought 1.8bn mobile devices, representing an 11.1pc increase from 2010.
Overall, Nokia led the global mobile devices market in the fourth quarter, with 111.7m units sold. However, this was an 8.7pc decrease from last year, which has been blamed on Europe’s troubled economy. Samsung came second with 92.6m, thanks to strong smartphone sales.
Gartner expects the overall market to grow by 7pc in 2012, however, it expects smartphone growth to slow to about 39pc.