appleinsider logo
Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

115% growth propels Apple to 5% share of global phone shipments

The latest estimates for total mobile phone shipments worldwide place Apple in fourth place with 5 percent of the market, thanks to a record quarter and huge year over year growth for the iPhone.

IDC's newly released Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker estimates that Apple's 18.7 million iPhones shipped made it firmly the fourth largest mobile phone vendor in the world in the first quarter of calendar 2011. Apple beat out ZTE, which came in fifth with a 4.1 percent market share on a shipment of 15.1 million devices.

Apple's 18.65 million iPhones sold last quarter were announced by the company earlier this month in its quarterly earnings report. It represented 114.9 percent year over year growth for the iPhone platform, easily outpacing the rest of the mobile phone market, which includes both smartphones and feature phones.

The total mobile phone market grew 19.8 percent year over year. And even market leader Nokia, which has seen its share of struggles as Apple's iPhone continues to grow, posted growth in shipments of 0.6 percent from 2010.

But Nokia's market share slid as the Finnish handset maker failed to keep pace with the rest of the market, slipping from 34.7 percent in 2010 to 29.2 percent in 2011. Second-place Samsung also saw its share slip from 20.7 percent a year ago to 18.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, as its 8.9 percent growth in shipments also fell short of competitors.

In third was LG electronics, which saw its year over year shipments drop 9.6 percent to 24.5 million. LG held a 6.6 percent total share of the mobile phone market, good enough to keep it ahead of Apple's 5 percent for the time being.

"Several notable vendors, including feature phone makers, outpaced the overall market, which contributed to share losses of some top suppliers," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "The growth of companies outside the top 5 vendors — vendors in the 'Others' category, such as Micromax, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei, and Research In Motion — shows that the overall market is still very much ripe for share gains."

IDC said that the iPhone sold particularly well in developed economic regions of the world, such as North America and Western Europe. The company's smartphone is now available on 186 carriers in 90 countries.

"At the same time, feature phones have represented the majority of mobile phone shipments, but still are under tremendous pressure from smartphones," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. "Even popular quick-messaging devices (phones with a QWERTY keyboard), once a bright spot within the feature phone market, appear to be losing steam as smartphones gain popularity. Still, IDC does not expect feature phones to disappear quickly as there is still strong demand across the globe."