Now the largest smartphone in the world, Apple claimed ranks as the third largest phone manufacturer in the world, according to recent IDC research.
Now available in more than 90 countries, the new iPhone 4S is largely to thank for the computer conglomerate ‘s success, selling a record breaking 37 million iPhones in the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the worldwide phone market grew 6.1 percent, slightly higher than IDC’s own predictions of 4.4 percent but behind the 9.3 percent growth experienced 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 Resitvo, 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.”
Though the popularity of smartphones continues to grow, feature phones continue to make up the majority of all mobile phone shipments.
“Even though their proportion is eroding, feature phones maintain their appeal on the basis of price and ease of use,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. “At the same time, feature phones are fighting to maintain their market share. To meet the challenge, feature phones are becoming more like smartphones, incorporating mobile Internet and third-party applications. While this may not stem the smartphone tide, it should slow down the rate at which smartphones are selected over feature phones.”
Nokia took first place in total shipments, a position it has long maintained due to the sheer amounts of cheap, non-smart phones the company produces. Samsung took second place in shipments, producing both smart Android phones and cheaper feature phones. Noted for being the first to break the 90 million phone mark for the first time in a single quarter, the company shipped 97.6 million phones in the fourth quarter.
LG and ZTE took third and fourth place in sales respectively, both dropping down a notch due to the surging popularity of Apple. LG particurlary took a heavy hit, from shipping 30.6 million phones in the fourth quarter of 2010 to shipping 17.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, dropping almost 50 percent.