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Samsung reigns in smartphone market

Posted: 09 Nov 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone market? smartphone vendors? 3Q11 growth?

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd is leading the smartphone market, according to market watcher International Data Corp. (IDC).

IDC said the smartphone market grew 42.6 percent YoY in the third quarter of 2011 despite slowdown within key mature markets. IDC also reported in its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker that vendors shipped 118.1 million units in 3Q11 compared to 82.8 million units in the 3Q10. However, the 42.6 percent growth was lower than IDC's forecast of 49.1 percent for the quarter and lower than 2Q11 growth of 66.7 percent.

Smartphone growth came in lower than expected due to the delayed launch of the updated Apple iPhone. In previous years, the introduction of a new iPhone resulted in a spike in shipment volumes during the third quarter. Western Europe and the United States, two key regions for the iPhone launch each year, still posted sizable year-over-year gains, but lower than anticipated. Nonetheless, the worldwide market grew by double digits, underscoring the growing popularity of smartphones.

"Samsung's ascendancy to the leadership position is the direct result of its broad and deep product portfolio," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's mobile phone technology and trends team. "Ever since the first Galaxy device launched last year, the company has aggressively expanded and refreshed its selection to include the latest innovations and most popular features. At the same time, its lineup of bada-branded smartphones has earned a welcome reception within key markets," Llamas said.

"At the same time, Samsung's position will be a challenge to maintain, both in the fourth quarter and beyond," added Llamas. "Apple's fourth quarter launch of the iPhone 4S and lower pricing of older models will certainly boost volumes, and Nokia's recent launch of Windows Phone smartphones marks the beginning of a new era for the company. While these point to larger volumes in the quarters to come, they will also lead to increased competition."

"Vendors will struggle to maintain leadership of the global smartphone market this year given its continued high growth, which opportunities for multiple companies to grow," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's worldwide mobile phone tracker. "Competitors will release smartphones with components, such as 3D displays, dual-core processors, and enhanced audio capabilities, which will help them drive higher shipment volumes and potentially leapfrog competitors."

Top mobile phone vendors
Samsung became the new leader in the worldwide smartphone market, with total smartphone shipments topping the 20 million unit mark for the first time in the company's history. As in previous quarters, its Android-powered smartphones drove volumes higher, and joining the product mix was Samsung's refreshed Galaxy S II. In addition, its bada-powered smartphones continued to gain salience in the market, and a new Windows Phone smartphone is expected to launch in 4Q11.

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Top five smartphone vendors, shipments and market share Q3 2011 (units in millions). Source: Quarterly IDC worldwide mobile phone tracker

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