IDC Research: Apple Becomes World's Third-Largest Mobile Phone Maker
Research firm IDC recently released its estimates of global mobile phone sales for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2011. Their results found Apple moving past LG to claim third place in the rankings for the first time. The year before (in 2010), Apple was rapidly closing in on LG but fell back into fifth place behind ZTE during the third quarter as customers held off in anticipation of new iPhone hardware. The strong surge from the iPhone 4S launch ended up moving Apple up in the year’s final quarter and by a large enough margin that it was able to surpass LG in full-year numbers as well.
Apple has been estimated to slowly close in on one of its main competitors, Samsung for the crown of the top smartphone manufacturer, while Nokia and Samsung both firmly hold down the top two spots in the overall mobile phone rankings (with their lower-end featured phones). IDC Research had the following to say:
Apple jumped into the third spot globally from the fifth spot last quarter thanks to a record-breaking quarter of shipments. That represents the Cupertino-based company's highest-ever ranking on IDC's Top 5 global mobile phone leaderboard. The launch of Apple's iPhone 4S smartphone, which is now available in over 90 countries (as of mid-January), was the primary reason the company leapt over LG and ZTE in 4Q11. Device sales in the U.S. and Japan were particularly strong given extra sales days in the quarter and carrier distribution.
The Cupertino California company’s share of the market hit 8.7% in the fourth quarter and registered at 6.0% for the full year. Jobs famously noted during the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 that Apple was shooting to take 1% of the massive overall mobile phone market. The company has not only met that goal but exceeded it by far. It can even go about setting its sights on a 10% quarterly share during the next surge in sales.
All in all, one year ago, Apple ranked fifth in both fourth quarter and full-year sales for the year of 2010. In the span of a year, the company has doubled its sales year-over-year and Apple was able to overtake both ZTE and LG to move into third place.
Source: IDC Research