Apple slides to No. 5 as ZTE sees Q3 mobile phone sales surge

Global cell phone shipments grew 14% annually to reach 390 million units in the third quarter as China-based ZTE passed Apple to become the No. 4 cell phone vendor in the world by volume. Market research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics on Thursday released global mobile phone shipment data for the third quarter of 2011, and the landscape is shifting. Nokia remained atop the list, having shipped 106.6 million cell phones in the September quarter, and Samsung remained in the No. 2 spot as mobile phone shipments exploded to 88 million units from 71.4 million in the same quarter last year. Read on for more.

LG managed to retain the No. 3 spot with 21.1 million phones shipped, though its lead narrowed significantly and it will likely lose its footing during the holiday quarter as Apple and ZTE gain momentum. ZTE shipped 18.5 million mobile phones to jump into the No. 4 spot, up from 14 million units in the third quarter last year, and Apple rounded out the top-5 with 17.1 million units, up from 14.1 million in the third quarter of 2010 but down sequentially from 20.34 million.

“Despite ongoing economic volatility, global handset shipments grew a relatively healthy 14 percent annually to reach 390 million units in Q3 2011,” Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Alex Spektor said in a statement. “ZTE was the star performer as it captured 5 percent market share and overtook Apple to become the world’s fourth largest handset vendor. ZTE’s growth is being driven by competitive pricing of entry-level models for feature phones and Android smartphones.” The firm’s full press release follows below.

Strategy Analytics: Global Handset Shipments Reach 390 Million Units in Q3 2011

Boston, MA – October 28, 2011According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global handset shipments grew 14 percent annually to reach 390 million units in the third quarter of 2011. China’s ZTE surpassed Apple to become the world’s fourth largest handset vendor, while Samsung’s marketshare reached record-high levels.

Alex Spektor, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Despite ongoing economic volatility, global handset shipments grew a relatively healthy 14 percent annually to reach 390 million units in Q3 2011. ZTE was the star performer as it captured 5 percent market share and overtook Apple to become the world’s fourth largest handset vendor. ZTE’s growth is being driven by competitive pricing of entry-level models for feature phones and Android smartphones.”

Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Nokia’s global handset shipments edged down 3 percent annually to 107 million units in Q3 2011. 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. The recent Microsoft Lumia announcements have come at a good time to help Nokia’s stagnant smartphone volumes. Hot on Nokia’s heels, second-ranked Samsung continued to grow and reached an all-time-high marketshare of 23 percent, fuelled by robust shipments of its high-end Galaxy S2 superphone.”

Other findings from the research include:

  • LG shipped just 21 million handsets worldwide in Q3 2011, as its Optimus One line of affordable smartphones lost some market momentum;
  • Apple slipped to fifth place in our marketshare rankings, as the delayed launch of the refreshed iPhone 4S yielded the vendor’s weakest quarter of the year.

Exhibit 1: Global Handset Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q3 2011

Global Handset Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 ’10

Q3’11

Nokia

110.4

106.6

Samsung

71.4

88.0

LG

28.4

21.1

ZTE

14.0

18.5

Apple

14.1

17.1

Others

103.2

138.6

Total

341.5

389.9

Global Handset Vendor Marketshare %

Q3 ’10

Q3’11

Nokia

32.3%

27.3%

Samsung

20.9%

22.6%

LG

8.3%

5.4%

ZTE

4.1%

4.7%

Apple

4.1%

4.4%

Others

30.2%

35.5%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

Global Handset Shipments Growth Year-over-Year %

15.2%

14.2%

The full report, Global Handset Shipments Reach 390 Million Units in Q3 2011, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/3tbnzb6.

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