SAN FRANCISCO—Samsung Electronics and China’s ZTE Corp. made significant strides in mobile handset market share in the third quarter, while Apple and Nokia lost share.
The latest figures from market research firm Strategy Analytics showed that despite the ongoing financial crisis, global handset shipments had posted an annual growth of 14 percent, to reach 390 million units in the third quarter.
South Korea-based Samsung purportedly shipped 27.8 million smartphones during the quarter, a 370 percent increase from the 7.5 million the firm shipped in the same quarter of 2010. Overall, the firm shipped 88 million phones in the third quarter. This puts the company’s current market share at 23 percent. Strategy Analytics put the impressive growth down to the “robust shipments” of Samsung’s high-end Galaxy S2 smartphone.
Fellow South Korean rival LG Electronics, meanwhile, shipped just 21 million handsets globally in Q3, with Strategy Analytics noting that its Optimus One line of smartphones aimed at the mid-tier had “lost some market momentum.”
Apple Inc.’s shipment numbers were deceptively low for the third quarter, though Strategy Analytics noted its numbers had been reached before the launch of the iPhone 4S on Oct. 14.
Strategy Analytics said Apple had shipped 17.1 million mobile phones in the third quarter, which was still an increase from the 14.1 million the company shipped in the same quarter of 2010.
Apple, however, claims to have sold over four million units of its new iPhone 4S in just the first three days after its launch, which even beat the firm’s previous record, of 1.7 million iPhone 4s sold in the first days after that handset’s launch in 2010.
With wider distribution of the iPhone 4S owing to Apple’s authorization of more carrier partners, the effect on Strategy Analytics numbers would likely have been fairly significant.
The phone maker which saw the most market share gain in the third quarter, however, was China’s ZTE, whose strategy of competitive pricing and aggressive push into the entry level smartphone space catapulted it into the top five. ZTE shipped 18.5 million phones in Q3.
“ZTE was the star performer as it captured 5 percent market share and overtook Apple to become the world’s fourth largest handset vendor,” confirmed Alex Spektor, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.
Nokia corp. meanwhile continued to lose share, as the Finnish firm’s global handset shipments dropped 3 percent annually to 107 million units in Q3.
“Nokia’s strong sales of its entry-level dual-SIM models in emerging markets were counterbalanced by weak demand for its high-end Symbian phones in developed regions,” said Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston, adding that the recent Microsoft Lumia announcements had “come at a good time to help Nokia’s stagnant smartphone volumes.”