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Apple becomes world’s fourth biggest mobile phone company

by Scott Bicheno on 2 May 2011, 11:07

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), IDC, Strategy Analytics

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa5re

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Staggering achievement

Market researcher Strategy Analytics has announced Apple is now the fourth biggest mobile phone maker in the world, leapfrogging Chinese giant ZTE in the process.

While it remains as hot as ever, the mobile phone market has been around for quite a while, with many strong, established incumbents. So to become the fourth biggest player in this market, from a standing start, in a mere four years really is a staggering achievement by Apple.

What makes it even more impressive is that the figure concerns volumes of handsets sold, and the other players shift a lot of low-value handsets, while Apple sells exclusively the most expensive handsets on the market. It has done so be completely redefining the mobile phone, of course - turning it into a mini computer - and forcing all the incumbents to follow its lead.

Alex Spektor, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: "Global handset shipments grew 17 percent annually to reach 350 million units in Q1 2011. Apple was a star performer during the quarter, as it shipped a record 18.6 million handsets, captured fourth place in global shipments and overtook rival ZTE."

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, added: "It was a mixed quarter for the world's major handset vendors. Some brands outperformed, such as Apple and ZTE, while others underperformed, such as LG and Nokia. LG lost ground due to sluggish feature phone volumes, while Nokia continued to struggle in 3G smartphones and the important United States market."

The tables are below, but there's one glaring conflict between Strategy Analytics' figures and its conclusions. According to its own figures, Apple was already ahead of ZTE a year ago. We can only assume ZTE reclaimed fourth spot at some time in the intervening year.

 

Exhibit 1: Global Handset Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q1 2011

Global Handset Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q1 '10

 

 

 

Q1 '11

Nokia

107.8

 

 

 

108.5

Samsung

64.3




68.9

LG

27.1




24.5

Apple

8.8




18.6

ZTE

8.6




15.2

Others

81.8

 

 

 

114.4

Total

298.4

 

 

 

350.1






 

Global Handset Vendor Marketshare %

Q1 '10

 

 

 

Q1 '11

Nokia

36.1%




31.0%

Samsung

21.5%




19.7%

LG

9.1%




7.0%

Apple

2.9%




5.3%

ZTE

2.9%




4.3%

Others

27.4%

 

 

 

32.7%

Total

100.0%

 

 

 

100.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Handset Shipments Growth Year-over-Year

19.6%

 

 

 

17.3%

 

Fellow researcher IDC confirmed Apple's fourth spot, but acknowledged that this wasn't the first quarter it had held it. Unlike Strategy Analytics, however, IDC had Apple well behind a year ago.



Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q1 2011 (Units in Millions)

Vendor

1Q11 Shipments

1Q11 Market Share

1Q10 Shipment Volumes

1Q10 Market Share

1Q11/1Q10 Change

Nokia

108.5

29.2%

107.8

34.7%

0.6%

Samsung

70.0

18.8%

64.3

20.7%

8.9%

LG Electronics

24.5

6.6%

27.1

8.7%

-9.6%

Apple

18.7

5.0%

8.7

2.8%

114.9%

ZTE

15.1

4.1%

10.4

3.3%

45.2%

Others

135

36.3%

92.2

29.7%

46.4%

Total

371.8

100.0%

310.5

100.0%

19.8%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, April 28, 2011

Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

 

Nokia's struggles are well documented, but at least it's more or less treading water in overall unit shipments. The new struggler appears to be LG, which lacks the brand strength of Nokia and Apple, and is striving to differentiate its Android smartphones from the likes of Samsung and HTC. At the current rate it will be overtaken by Apple for third place before long.



HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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Is that all? You would think from all the massive exaggerations and hyperbole, Apple was somewhere in orbit over everyone else.
ZTE seem to be doing quite well at the lower end of the market. However,it seems that the figures for HTC are missing??

Edit!!

From the article:

“Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.”
CAT-THE-FIFTH
ZTE seem to be doing quite well at the lower end of the market. However,it seems that the figures for HTC are missing??

Edit!!

From the article:

“Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.”

Also, note how big the ‘others’ category is. I'd be surprised if HTC wasn't the biggest of the others.

ZTE's figures can be explained by the Chinese market alone.
aidanjt
Is that all? You would think from all the massive exaggerations and hyperbole, Apple was somewhere in orbit over everyone else.
Think most of that comes from the fact they only ever sell 2 core models of iphone's at any given time. Even accounting for GSM/CDMA, white/black & 16/32GB that only 9 phones they retail each year. How many do Samsung, LG and the like produce and market at any given time? Hundreds i suspect. Which makes apples figures impressive. I imagine on sales per single device apple are in orbit with the 4.
Scott B;2073927
Also, not how big the ‘others’ category is. I'd be surprised if HTC wasn't the biggest of the others.

ZTE's figures can be explained by the Chinese market alone.

Your right the others category does seem quite big. ZTE does seem to be expanding outside of China too with products like the Blade becoming reasonably popular budget handset. But TBH,the Chinese market is pretty large like you said and ZTE does have quite strong links with the Chinese government too.